Angels take a different tack with Brandon Wood
Brandon Wood couldn't hit Sunday. Literally.
The Angels told the third baseman to take batting practice off for a second consecutive day, a somewhat unconventional move that Manager Mike Scioscia said was designed to let Wood "try to decompress" amid his season-long struggles. Wood wasn't in the lineup against St. Louis at Busch Stadium, the first time this season that he has not played for two consecutive games.
"You want a guy to let his mind kind of just relax a little bit and kind of reboot about what he's got to do in the batter's box," Scioscia said.
While saying the Angels remained committed to helping Wood emerge from a protracted slump during which he is hitting .157 with only three extra-base hits and 36 strikeouts in 121 at-bats, General Manager Tony Reagins acknowledged there was a limit to how long the team could afford to let Wood keep playing if his productivity doesn't improve.
"You'll get to a point, and I'm not saying that point is close, where you'll have to weigh if it's hurting 24 other guys or not giving us an opportunity to win ballgames, and when it gets to that point then we have to take a look at it," Reagins said.
Kevin Frandsen started at third base Sunday for a second consecutive game, but a more attractive alternative could emerge soon in utility infielder Maicer Izturis. Scioscia said Izturis could return by the middle of next week from the inflammation in his right shoulder that has sidelined him since early this month.
The Angels cannot let Wood tinker with his swing at triple-A Salt Lake because he is out of minor league options, leaving them in a somewhat untenable position if Wood doesn't start hitting.
"Either he sits or gets out there and plays or it's sporadic, so we have to figure out what that mix is right now," Reagins said. "It's difficult because you don't want him to completely lose his season because of his confidence level, but at the same time you want to try to get him going.
"Whatever means we need to take to get him to where he needs to be, then that's what we're going to do."
Scioscia said letting Wood refrain from swinging a bat for a couple of days could help him "find a little bit of comfort in the batter's box. There's no magic formula, but we've tried a lot of things and I think it's time right now to do this and we'll see how it progresses."
--Ben Bolch, reporting from St. Louis
Photo: Angels third baseman Brandon Wood throws to first base after fielding a ball hit by Oakland's Kevin Kouzmanoff on April 11. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press