Torii Hunter to make first start of season in CF vs. Mariners; Angels not interested in Kevin Millwood
The Angels' new center fielder Thursday is their old center fielder. With Peter Bourjos mired in an 0-for-23 slump, Manager Mike Scioscia moved Torii Hunter from right field to center for Thursday's game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
It will be the first start of the season in center field for Hunter, who moved to right to clear a spot for Bourjos last August but is a nine-time Gold Glove Award winner at the position.
"I think he knows the neighborhood," Scioscia said. "I heard he's played it before, so we're going to give it a shot."
Scioscia said that despite Bourjos' struggles -- the young center fielder has one hit in his last 29 at-bats, his average falling from .303 on May 8 to .252 -- Thursday's move will not be a permanent switch.
"He'll continue to play," Scioscia said of Bourjos. "With any young player, there's going to be an adjustment period. There's advance scouting, and the way teams pitch you is going to change. A lot of [young] guys are struggling these past few weeks, but that's a normal process. With experience, those down times, hopefully, will be shorter."
The Angels have lost four straight and six of their last seven games, including back-to-back shutouts at the hands of the Oakland Athletics and Mariners on Tuesday and Wednesday. They have gone 21 consecutive innings without a run, mustering only eight hits -- all singles -- in that span.
In other news, General Manager Tony Reagins shot down an SI.com tweet earlier Thursday that the Angels were one of several teams interested in free-agent pitcher Kevin Millwood.
"That tweet has no basis," Reagins said.
The Angels lineup: SS Erick Aybar, RF Bobby Abreu, DH Maicer Izturis, CF Torii Hunter, LF Howie Kendrick, 3B Alberto Callaspo, C Hank Conger, 1B Mark Trumbo, 2B Alexi Amarista, P Dan Haren.
The Mariners lineup: RF Ichiro Suzuki, 3B Chone Figgins, 1B Justin Smoak, DH Jack Cust, 2B Adam Kennedy, SS Luis Rodriguez, LF Carlos Peguero, C Chris Gimenez, CF Michael Saunders, P Doug Fister.
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Seattle
Photo: Torii Hunter. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times