Napoli, Wood show muscle
Hitting fourth and fifth in the lineup in the Cactus League opener, Mike Napoli and Brandon Wood didn’t waste any time flexing their muscles for the Angels.
After getting a hit taken away in the second inning by third baseman Josh Fields, Napoli — picking up where he left off with his torrid 2008 finish — launched a two-run double to left center in the third inning, giving the Angels a 3-2 lead over the White Sox.
Wood, who had backed Jermaine Dye to the wall in right in his first at-bat, had center fielder Jerry Owens climbing the wall in center to flag down his drive to end the inning against Octovio Dotel. Two at-bats, and Wood had launched about 750 feet worth of outs.
“I’m feeling more comfortable with my hands now,” Wood was saying before the game. “It took a while to get a feel for it, but it feels natural now. I think I’m getting to the ball a little quicker.”
Wood altered his stance last season, dropping his hands from a cocked position to give him a more direct path to the ball. He had his best month as an Angel in September, and he could be ready to take flight as a legitimate power presence.