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.