Angels infielder Brandon Wood makes progress
Reporting from Toronto — Third baseman Brandon Wood remained in the lineup Sunday despite his .088 batting average entering the game and errors on back-to-back plays that led to a pair of unearned runs in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Blue Jays.
Wood had an infield single in four at-bats in the Angels’ 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday, raising his average to .105, and he drove a fly ball to the wall in center field in the seventh inning. He fielded four ground balls cleanly.
A breakout game? Not quite. Progress? Perhaps.
“Sometimes, patience is needed,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think Brandon is going to contribute this season in a way we need. Maybe not to the fullest of his full potential, but this guy’s going to break through.
“We’re going to obviously try to find that balance where he’s moving forward, where he can keep his confidence and contribute, with the ability to let him take a breather mentally if it starts to become a grind.”
Wood’s defense had been very good until Saturday because he was not taking his frustrations at the plate into the field. But he admitted Sunday that he took some of his defensive frustrations to the plate in hopes of motivating himself.
“They weren’t negative thoughts like, ‘My career is over,’ ” Wood said. “And I wasn’t thinking about the [errors] when I was hitting. But I was thinking that I needed to do something to help the team.”
Torii Hunter counseled Wood heavily in the first week of the season, but the veteran center fielder has backed off some.
“I’ve been trying to give him a lot of space … I don’t want to talk to him too much,” Hunter said. “Everyone is throwing their two cents in, and he’s the type of guy who will listen because he doesn’t want to be un-coachable. … But it can get into his head and he can start thinking too much. Just play the game and take your lumps.”
Wood appreciates the space … and the encouragement.
“I get advice here and there from guys who have struggled, and others give you space and let you figure it out on your own,” Wood said. “This is my career. I’m confident I can play this game. This isn’t the end of the world for me.”
The artificial turf in the Rogers Centre claimed its second Angels victim Sunday. Right fielder Bobby Abreu sat out Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays, and Hunter, who has a team-leading .341 average, did not play Sunday.
“I’m just sore everywhere,” said Hunter, who played the first two games of the series. “That turf is mean.”
It was supposed to be a kinder, gentler surface. The Blue Jays installed a new, softer turf this season, but until it gets compacted a little more, Hunter said it will be uncomfortable for those who are not used to playing on it.
“Go run in the sand at the beach for an hour and see how that works for you,” Hunter said. “It’s soft, but that’s not necessarily good. It makes your body sore and your muscles work harder.”
Scioscia likes the new turf, “but it still has that truth serum in it,” he said. “If you’re on it, you’re going to find out what’s hurting you. I was just walking around and my rotator cuff was hurting.”