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Brandon Wood to get 'first opportunity' at third base

March 15, 2010 | 11:23 am

Manager Mike Scioscia said Monday morning that Brandon Wood, the team's top position-playing prospect for several years, will get "the first opportunity" at the starting third base job, with Maicer Izturis likely opening the season as a super utility player.

Wood, 25, has spent most of the past three seasons at triple-A Salt Lake, and in 224 major league at-bats since 2007, he has hit .195 with seven home runs, 19 runs batted in, 74 strikeouts and seven walks.

But the Angels believe that with regular playing time, Wood has the potential to hit 15 to 20 home runs and cut down on his strikeouts, and they are already comfortable with him defensively at third.

If Wood seizes the third-base job, Scioscia would able to move the versatile Izturis around the infield to spell Wood, second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar. Izturis, who signed a three-year, $10-million contract this winter, would likely play four or five times a week.

"He's a guy we would like to take the position," Scioscia said of Wood. "We'd have a lot of depth if he does. He has to show he's ready. Right now, we're looking for him to get the first opportunity there, with Izzy helping out with the versatility he brings to play short, second and third. If we have to adjust to that, we will.

"We know what Brandon is going to do on defense, and hopefully he'll get into a comfort level on offense. He has a lot of talent and potential."

-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.