Angels keep faith in Brandon Wood ... but for how much longer?
Brandon Wood was not in Friday night's lineup against the New York Yankees, but Manager Mike Scioscia is not at the point where he will give the struggling third baseman three or four straight days off to "clear his head," as Scioscia has done in the past with hitters in prolonged slumps.
But an extended stay on the bench could in the near future for Wood, who is batting .087 with four singles, 15 strikeouts and two walks in 46 at-bats through his first 13 games.
"That's an option we'll look at closely, where you give a guy three or four days off to clear his head, but he's going to play Saturday," Scioscia said. "You can see the talent. The frustration level is something we're going to monitor closely."
Just how does Scioscia do that?
"There's a frustration machine he wears on his hip," Scioscia said, trying to lighten the mood of the conversation. "You can sense it with some of his swings, the pitches he might take or swing at. He doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, but you can see he's gritting his teeth a bit."
Wood has been taking early batting practice and working extensively with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, who is trying to keep things simple for the 25-year-old Wood.
"A lot of it is trying to erase his brain -- I think his computer is overloading," Hatcher said. "We're talking about hitting, not so much about mechanics. We watched some video from last year, when he was going good. I just want to see good swings from him. Don't worry so much about working counts. Get a good pitch and put that good Woody swing on it. Get in the box and compete."
Wood, who spent most of the past three seasons in triple A, is trying to remain confident.
"Obviously, the way I'm playing now is not ideal for me, for the team, for anybody," Wood said. "The way Mickey and the staff has handled it is reassuring, but it's up to me to get myself out of it. This is not the player I am. I know I have some success in me."
Wood's power potential and defensive ability made him the Angels' top position-playing prospect for several years, but major league pitching is far superior to that in triple A; how do the Angels know Wood can handle it? Time -- more of it, in Wood's case -- will tell.
"It's like an astronaut -- you can train all you want, but you don't know how he's going to do in outer space," Scioscia said. "The only way is to go out there and meet the challenge, and we're confident that he's going to be a productive offensive player."