Angels Have a New Right Fielder…
…And believe it or not, his name is Torii Hunter. I’ll be the first to admit I was completely and utterly shocked by everything surrounding this movie. First, the fact that Scioscia would have the clear thinking to actually make a movie like this and turn Bourjos into the Angels’ new CFer, and secondly that Hunter would take it so incredibly well. Quoted in the L.A. Times Blog The Fabulous Forum, Hunter said:
"“All I want to do is win,” said Hunter, who stressed that the decision to cede the position at which he has won nine Gold Gloves was his. “If this makes the team better, I’m going to do it. … Sometimes you have to slap pride in the face.”Hunter admitted that the Angels’ outfield defense had been a “big problem,” but with Hunter in right, Bourjos in center and Bobby Abreu in left, the team’s coverage should be more than adequate.“This guy can fly,” Hunter said of Bourjos, who was hitting .314 with 13 homers for triple-A Salt Lake before his promotion Tuesday. “We have to give the kid a chance.”"
Of course, they also turned around and called the Angels’ defense with Bourjos in CF, Hunter in RF and Abreu in LF “more than adequate,” but hey, it’s a start. Abreu roaming a third of the OF is never going to be adequate, but Hunter could potentially return to a positive defender in right, and Bourjos shows the promise of being a very solid defender in center.
As far as Hunter and his comments go, though, I couldn’t have remotely expected anything better. I fully expected both Hunter and Scioscia to stick with the “veteran presence” and all his Gold Gloves in CF, despite the large amount of evidence that it was the wrong way to go. The fact that Scioscia decided to make the movie, though, and that Hunter seems to have so readily and happily gone along with it shows Hunter as being both aware of his defensive ability (something he’s not always shown in the past) and of the fact that his skills are starting to decline as his age increases, and willing to put his own pride aside to make the team better. Perhaps, had the Angels not had the disappointing season that 2010 has turned out to be, a move like this would not have seemed necessary and had the decision been made, Hunter may not have taken to it quite so happily. This is 100% conjecture on my part, but if that is the case, then it is one of the few silver linings on the Angels’ disappointing campaign thus far.