BOSTON -- Having demonstrated the ability to save runs and prevent big innings with his blinding speed, glove and accurate arm in center field, young Peter Bourjos is being given time to adapt offensively with the Angels.
Getting his first exposure to Fenway Park and its notorious triangle leading to the 420 sign in right-center field, Bourjos was in center for the series opener against the Red Sox, facing All-Star Clay Buchholz. Bourjos came into the series batting .135 in 11 games and 37 at-bats.
Bourjos has hit a number of balls on the nose and has been victimized by a string of brilliant defensive plays. It's part of the transition to the big time, manager Mike Scioscia said.
"He's hit some balls hard, but that's the Major Leagues," Scioscia said. "The field shrinks when you get to the Major Leagues. There's a significant upgrade in range from Triple-A to the Major Leagues. All hitters who come up comment on balls they thought were in the hole, but plays were made.
"Obviously we have to be patient with him. He's trying to settle in and get comfortable in the batter's box. I don't think he's tapped into everything he can do. He's a good bunter. He got one down against Toronto the other night, and if he drops that same bunt in the Minor Leagues 50 times, he's probably safe 50 times. But [Aaron Hill] made an unbelievable play."
Scioscia has high praise for Wilson
BOSTON -- Bobby Wilson and Jered Weaver have a good thing going, a harmonious connection Angels manager Mike Scioscia hopes they can maintain in the always challenging environs of Fenway Park.
Wilson, who drilled a pair of homers and drove in five runs in his most recent start on Saturday night against the Blue Jays, got the call behind the plate on Tuesday night in the series opener against the Red Sox. Weaver, who has drawn nothing but aces all season, was opposed by yet another one in All-Star Clay Buchholz.
In 28 innings with Wilson as his receiver, Weaver had surrendered four runs -- but only one was earned -- leaving his ERA a microscopic 0.32. The ace had 33 strikeouts while allowing only 22 baserunners. Weaver has a 3.07 ERA in 73 1/3 innings with Jeff Mathis and a 4.75 ERA in 47 1/3 innings with Mike Napoli.
"Bobby's doing a great job with everybody," Scioscia said. "It gets down to a catcher's ability to be in sync with the pitcher as far as the mental part of the game. He is terrific at it."
Angels pitchers overall own a 3.43 ERA in Wilson's 168 innings behind the plate, compared to Mathis' 4.06 in 350 innings and Napoli's 5.07 in 476 innings.
The Angels are 15-5 in Wilson's starts, compared to 23-32 with Napoli and 20-21 with Mathis. Napoli, one homer away from his 20th for the third season in a row, was in the lineup for the first time at Fenway Park at first base. The Angels are 22-18 when he starts there.
Aybar hits sixth vs. Red Sox, Kendrick sits
BOSTON -- Shortstop Erick Aybar became the eighth Angels player to hit in the No. 6 spot in the order on Tuesday night, moving down from the top two places he has occupied most of the season with right-hander Clay Buchholz on the mound for Boston.
Howard Kendrick, a .353 career hitter in 102 at-bats against the Red Sox who has flourished at Fenway Park with a .411 average, was given the night off. Switch-hitters Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo were placed second and third, respectively, behind leadoff man Bobby Abreu, against Buchholz.
"I think Erick's pressing a bit," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're trying to tweak some of the templates we have. We have the ability to move guys around who are multi-dimensional. Erick hopefully can put the ball in play in the six-hole."
Aybar is in the midst of a 4-for-22 stretch and is batting .218 with runners in scoring position, but he leads the club with 36 multi-hit games.
Joel Pineiro, who severely strained his left oblique while warming up prior to a July 22 start he was unable to make, began the rehab process by playing catch on Tuesday for the first time since the injury. Pineiro was pleased with how it went, but there is no projection for his return. The early prognosis was that he'd be out six to eight weeks, which would take him to close to the end of season. ... The Angels are hitting .259 with runners in scoring position this season after setting a club record last year with a .297 average in those situations. They are averaging 4.5 runs per game this season, down from 5.5 last year. The biggest reason for the drop is obvious: Kendry Morales, fifth in the 2009 American League Most Valuable Player balloting, played only 51 games before surgery on his lower left leg took him out for the season. ... The Angels' team ERA of 3.38 this month is close to a full run better than the 4.32 they put together in July. ... The Angels have had 15 different players land on the disabled list this season for a total of 715 games. ... Mark Trumbo continues to bash away for Triple-A Salt Lake, batting .382 over the past nine games. His homer in a 7-6 loss to Nashville on Monday was his 28th of the season. The big first baseman is hitting .296 with a team-high 97 RBIs in 118 games.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.