Brandon Wood, who needs a good spring if he hopes to have a future with the Angels, lined a one-out double to left to key a two-run third-inning rally Tuesday in a 2-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Wood hit .286 and averaged 23 homers a season in the minors but he's struggled at the big-league level, batting .169 in 450 at-bats. And the Angels, out of options with the 25-year-old infielder, are clearly running out of patience too.
"Brandon needs to prove to himself that he’s made adjustments and can make adjustments from the experience last year and be a major league player," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Wood, who hit .146 and struck out in nearly a third of his at-bats in 2010. "I think a lot of it’s confidence. It’s tough to get confident when you hit .146.
"This spring training is as much going to be him hopefully attacking major league pitching and showing the talent he has. Obviously last year he took a step backward. If it makes him better in the long run, it’s worth all those struggles. If it doesn’t, then it’s a shame. Because he’s a talented kid."
Wood attacked major league pitching in his first at-bat, falling behind Reds' right-hander Johnny Cueto before lining a 1-2 change-up just inside the line in left for a double. Peter Bourjos, the next batter, was hit by a pitch before Erick Aybar singled up the middle, scoring Wood. Bobby Abreu followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Bourjos with what proved to be the winning run.
The Angels were held to just two hits over their final five at-bats but five Angel relievers made the one-run lead stand up. Kevin Jepsen and Tyler Chatwood were the most impressive of the bunch with Jepsen pitching a perfect inning, striking out one, while Chatwood threw two scoreless innings, also with a strikeout.
Right-hander Jered Weaver, the major league strikeout champion last summer, started for the Angels and gave up hits to two of the first three batters he faced to fall behind 1-0. But he also struck out two Reds in his two innings on the mound.
-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.
Photo: Brandon Wood. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times