Peer support for Wood

ANAHEIM – Kevin Kouzmanoff has been there, done that. The terrible start. The mental strain and drain. He knows what Brandon Wood has been going through in his search for quality at-bats and line drives that find open spaces, not gloves.
For Kouzmanoff, now the third baseman for the Athletics, it happened in 2007, after he was acquired by the Padres from the Indians in exchange for Josh Barfield. His start with San Diego was every bit as discouraging as what Wood is enduring, lugging a .102 batting average into Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees with five hits in 49 at-bats.

Kouzmanoff was batting .108 in 93 at-bats on May 7. The Padres were close to demoting him, but when third baseman Russell Branyan left the team after a relative died, Kouzmanoff was kept in the lineup by manager Bud Black, former pitching coach for Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

From May 8 to season’s end, he batted .309 with 17 home runs in 118 games.

“It was very frustrating,” Kouzmanoff said. “I was afraid to go out in public. It was embarrassing. I was lucky to have teammates who were pulling for me and to have a manager who believed in me. But I knew I could play the game. It was just a matter of bringing it out.

“I’ve watched [Wood] and he’s a good player. He’s here for a reason. He just needs to stick with it.”

Wood delivered in a big situation on Sunday against the Yankees. With his team down by a run and the bases loaded with one out in the fourth, Wood sent Javier Vazquez’s first pitch, a curveball, on a line to left. It fell in front of a tumbling Marcus Thames for a two-run double. Wood had been hitting in bad luck, having been robbed on a number of occasions of hits and RBIs on diving plays.

The kid was due for a break, and he finally got one to fall. — Lyle Spencer 



  1. angelitos10

    lets think team win. Brandon is not even close to Isturis on defense. he is too stiff for third base and not quick however we must support. I just wonder how Isturis is doing being slighted by his coaches considering he has been a team player for so many years.

  2. j_rod

    I’ve been a Wood supporter since day 1. I thought that by giving him some consistent playing time, he would come around and show his stuff at the plate. Unfortunately, other than a couple of back to back games where he showed some flashes of good consistent professional hitting, he’s just looked completely lost at the plate. I watch every game, so I can see the development. Unfortunately, at this point, it doesn’t appear that he can handle the off speed stuff such as breaking balls and change ups. Defense is good, but the offensive is just not there. Right now, he’s a for sure out for the defense. I really like the kid they brought up for one night and got 3 hits while playing third. I can’t even think of his name right now, but I really liked his approach and skills at the plate. We really need to get to see him more. I really think it may be time to get to see him more, who knows.

    On another note, the kid Matt Ryan has a heck of swing. We really need to see him more. Matsui and Rivera are just not getting it done. We need to see more of the kid.

  3. j_rod

    After almost a quarter of the season in, I think I would make the following changes and see what happens:

    1) Make Fernando Rodney the closer.

    2) Make Kevin Jepsen the 8th inning guy. This guy has intimidating stuff.

    3) Move Fuentes to a 6th or 7th inning guy. He is not an over powering guy that is going to dominate and close out a game for you. The American league is on to him. He’s is very average.

    4) Send Scott Shields down to triple A to work stuff out. Love Scotty for what he’s done in the past, but he’s just not right.

    5) I’ll stick with Stokes & Bulger for a little longer, but they should be close to getting the hook and looking at other alternatives.

    6) Start Kevin Frandsen at 3rd for consecutive nights and see how he responds. I want to believe in Brandon Wood, so maybe give him a little more time, but he just really looks lost at the plate against consistent big league pitching. When healthy Izzy can play more 3rd too.

    This is just painful to watch. I’m patient, but I’m gonna start worrying if this continues through June.

  4. lleach

    Sit Wood for a few games. Send Frandsen down and bring Quinlan up. I have never seen Quinlan make an error at third. I have seen Frandsen make three in three starts. It’s not like Frandsen is tearing it up offensively either.

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