Wood debuts at first base

Brandon Wood, with all of five professional games of experience at the position, found himself on the lineup card at first base and batting seven against the Yankees’ CC Sabathia on Sunday at Angel Stadium.

“It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to,” Wood said. “I’ve played enough there now at [Triple-A] Salt Lake to get a feel for it. It’s definitely a different look and feel, but I’m getting more comfortable every time I play there. By the third or fourth game, I was checking things off: I can do that, I can do that.

“One thing I didn’t realize is how much is involved at first in terms of physical activity – all the squatting, moving around. I find that my legs are more tired after playing first than at short or third.”

A shortstop all his life, taken in the first round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., Wood has been the gem of the farm system since ’04. He has been brought along slowly – the Angels are loaded with quality players at shortstop and third base – but has shown clear signs in limited opportunities this season of putting it all together.

His first three starts this season have been at third base, where he has excelled spelling Chone Figgins. Wood made a superb back-handed stab on Saturday, robbing Johnny Damon of a hit in the fifth inning, and responded in the bottom half of the winning with a homer to right center against Andy Pettitte. It jump-started the Angels’ offense, and they went on to prevail, 14-8.

Wood had two hits against Sabathia in New York on May 2, including an opposite-field single that ignited a decisive rally.

“A play like the one Woody made can give you a boost of confidence,” teammate Reggie Willits said. “I’ve seen that carry over to your next at-bat – and you saw what happened. Woody has big-time talent, no question about it.”

Wood agreed that his defensive contribution might have sharpened his focus in his at-bat against Pettitte. He was ahead 3-1 in the count when he went after a pitch down and on the outer half of the plate and sent it rocketing into the seats in right center.

“He has ridiculous power,” Willits said. “I’ve seen him hit some shots you wouldn’t believe in the Minors.”

Wood, who swung at only two of Pettitte’s first 10 pitches on Saturday, walking in his first at-bat, is making an impression on the man in charge.

“Brandon is making significant strides, offensively and defensively,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s looked good at first in Salt Lake. He’s athletic, with good hands, and he is taking to it well, just as he did at third.”



  1. luvvhalos

    keep him in the freaking majors than mike he has showed that he can hit big league pitching the 2nd half last year and now this year have him share short with izturis and get rid of eybar

  2. twsworld

    Quit screwing with Wood!!! Make a decision about him already, but quit jerking him around. Are the Angels trying to break him like they did Matt Brown? He has proven he belongs in the major leagues, and is the best short stop AND 3rd baseman the Angels have. I suppose next he will be put at 2nd, or somewhere in the outfield. Hey, maybe the Angels should really mess him up and put him at catcher. Oh, wait a minute, they need relief pitchers, and he has a great arm. Hmm, what else can the Angels possibly do to mess him up, since they seem hell bent on doing so?

  3. j_rod

    The Angels are quite frankly playing great ball right on the offensive side. This despite injuries to Tori, Vlad and now Rivera. So as they say, do not fix something that is not broken. This team has great chemistry. I would love to see Woody get in there as I too am a big fan. But his time will come. Izzy, Aybar, Figgy and Kendry are just playing too good right now to sit. Perhaps there is a spot in there at 2nd to get him in. But you have Howie there too. If Figgy doesn’t sign next year, that will be his chance.

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