ANAHEIM -- Angels outfielder Vernon Wells could return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday night after being out for more than three weeks.

Wells hasn't played since straining his right groin during an at-bat against the White Sox on May 9. He is on the disabled list and began a rehab assignment with the Angels' Class A Inland Empire 66ers on Sunday.

The three-time All Star went 0-for-2 but reached base on a walk and scored a run while playing five innings in left field in the 66ers' 10-4 win against High Desert in Adelanto, Calif.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he spoke Monday with Wells, who told him he "feels great." The club expected Wells to play deeper into the 66ers' game on Monday night.

"Make sure he comes out with no stiffness and we'll make a decision tonight," Scioscia said. "If we think he's close to being ready we'll get him in the lineup tomorrow. If he needs a little more, we'll let him keep playing."

Wells, who is a career .277 hitter with 227 home runs, could help inject some much-needed offense into the Angels' lineup with his return. Though he hit just .183 with four home runs in 35 games before being hurt, Wells belted three home runs in his last eight games.

"A lot of the feedback is how he's feeling," Scioscia said. "But definitely our staff is looking at him and how he's moving. He went first to third really well yesterday, ran well, that's a really good sign for a groin injury."

Offensive struggles prompt Scioscia's 'pep talk'

ANAHEIM -- Sometimes discerning the cause of sub-par results can be difficult.

The Angels' current situation -- they have lost four out of five and their 4 1/2-game deficit in the American League West entering Monday night was their largest of the season -- isn't one of those instances.

A lack of timely hitting has plagued the squad for most of the year. The ugly trend has made itself even more apparent recently as the Halos have scored three runs or less in 16 of their last 29 games heading the series opener against the Rays.

The frustration level may be reaching a boiling point. It was enough to prompt manager Mike Scioscia to call a team meeting -- which he described as a "pep talk" -- before Monday's game.

"There are some guys in that room that are frustrated, there's no doubt about it," Scioscia said. "Frustration is an indicator that has pros and cons. It shows that these guys expect more out of themselves. I think if you have a player that isn't frustrated, I think that's telling you that might be the best he thinks he can play."

Some players, particularly right fielder Torii Hunter, have not hid their frustration. Hunter stranded six runners and grounded into his Major League-leading 16th double play of the season on Sunday in the team's 5-3 loss to New York.

"You just have to play the game. That's all you can do," Hunter said after the loss Sunday, his head slumped down slightly and his usual bright smile absent. "Hopefully we can get those runners in. We just couldn't get them in. ... I couldn't get anybody in. It's frustrating for me, personally."

The Angels' .230 batting average with runners in scoring position was the second worst in the AL. Their .167 mark with the bases loaded was the worst in baseball, and the club still didn't have an extra-base hit with the bases packed.

"The bottom line is, this team is playing very, very hard," he said. "There are a lot of things that we're doing well out there that are may be swallowed up by our inability to get that hit with runners in scoring position and it has cost us some games."