ANAHEIM -- While Torii Hunter continues to struggle at the plate, in the middle of a 3-for-36 slump over the last nine games, Angels manager Mike Scioscia believes that he can turn it around just by settling down in the box.
"He has become a little big on his swing and he has been trying to maybe create a little too much," Scioscia said. "He isn't taking what pitchers are giving him, especially with guys in scoring position."
Through 18 games this season, Hunter was batting .208 with three home runs and a team high 10 RBIs. He is hitting .245 against right-handed pitchers and .125 against lefties.
"I think he is just trying too hard and trying to do too much at the plate," Scioscia said. "He needs to settle down a little bit."
With such urgency, Scioscia said it is throwing off Hunter's timing, where he is ahead of breaking balls and behind fastballs.
Scioscia has considered giving Hunter a day off, thinking it may move him ahead and get Hunter out of the funk he is in.
"We have given days off to other players, and if it will help Torii, it is something we will do," Scioscia said. "We have talked about it because all of these guys are going to need a day off at some point. We will see when it makes sense.
"He just needs to get a feel and rhythm at the plate, but he will get there."
Morales progresses, but return date uncertain
ANAHEIM -- While Kendrys Morales continues to make strides in recovering from left ankle surgery, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said there is still no time frame for his return.
Joining the team back in Anaheim as it begins a four game homestand against the Boston Red Sox, Morales continues to take part in his running program that includes running the bases easily and running some cuts. He is also set to take some ground balls.
"It is nothing too extreme right now," Scioscia said. "He isn't close to playing in games yet, but he is feeling better and making a little progress, but nothing to get excited about right now."
On the disabled list since March 20, Morales has experienced issues with his range of motion and had some stiffness, but it continues to diminish after every workout.
Morales said he still continues to feel "something" in his ankle, but it is more discomfort than pain.
"It is feeling better day by day," Morales said. "I just don't want to push it, so I'll make sure I am at 100 percent."
Conger settling into groove at big league level
ANAHEIM -- To begin Thursday's series against the Boston Red Sox, Angels manager Mike Scioscia penciled in Hank Conger to start behind the plate, something he has done only seven other times this season.
Yet, in his 16 career starts, the Angels are 12-4, with the Angels pitchers owning a 2.28 ERA.
"It has been pretty good so far," Conger said. "I have just been trying to watch video and tried to talk to all of the starters as much as possible to see what they like and are comfortable with."
While Conger said it has been a long process in finding such success at the Major League level, it has become easier with the likes of Bobby Wilson and Jeff Mathis also in the clubhouse.
"They helped me get a feel for what they do and what their routine is, like going into games, which helped out a lot," Conger said.
Conger also enjoys having Scioscia, a former catcher for the Dodgers from 1980-1992, as a manager who makes sure to keep him and the other catchers in check.
"He holds a very high standard for the catchers," Conger said. "But you don't want to have it any other way."
Vernon Wells came into Thursday's game with a .318 average against Boston starter Josh Beckett, while also tallying five home runs against the righty, the most by any active player. "You just have try and not do too much against a guy like him," Wells said. "You just have to make solid contact and take advantage of any mistake he makes."
Joel Piniero, on the disabled list with right shoulder tightness, will pitch Monday for Class A Inland Empire. "He will definitely have one more start, possibly two," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We will evaluate him after he throws 60 to 70 pitches and see how well he bounces back."
Scott Kazmir threw earlier in the week during an extended spring training game in Arizona, tossing 45 pitches, all fastballs, in three innings. "At the end of his workout, he had things to feel good about," Scioscia said. "His velocity picked up and he felt in rhythm. He'll repeat that again early next week."
Quinn Roberts is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.