Brandon Wood -- remember him? -- to start at first base for Angels vs. Twins
A shoulder injury to Maicer Izturis set off a series of Angels lineup shifts that will result in Brandon Wood playing first base against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night in Target Field, the first start since July 17 for the 25-year-old whose season-long struggles cost him his third-base job in July.
The oft-injured Izturis, who has been on the disabled list twice this season, was in the original lineup, playing second base and batting second, but he was scratched because of a sore right shoulder, an injury he sustained diving for Mike Lowell's single up the middle in the ninth inning in Fenway Park Thursday night.
Manager Mike Scioscia moved Howie Kendrick from first base to second and from the seventh spot in the order to second. He had the option of moving catcher Mike Napoli to first and starting Jeff Mathis or Bobby Wilson behind the plate, but he "likes the rapport" between Napoli and starting pitcher Dan Haren and didn't want to disrupt that.
So, with left-hander Brian Duensing starting for the Twins, Scioscia opted to go with Wood, who is batting .166 with three home runs and 12 runs batted in and has only two at-bats since July 17, at first base, a position he played occasionally in 2008 and 2009.
Izturis underwent treatment Friday and said he expects to be ready to play Saturday against the Twins. Juan Rivera, who did not play in the Red Sox series, will start in left field, Bobby Abreu will be at designated hitter, and DH Hideki Matsui, who hit a three-run homer in Thursday night's win over Boston, will be on the bench.
"Right now, we have guys fighting for at-bats, and Juan Rivera is one of them," Scioscia said. "Hideki is swinging at a higher level, and he's going to be in there virtually every day, but this is a good day to get Juan in there."
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Minneapolis