Reporting from Arlington, Texas — The Angels never ran out of patience with Brandon Wood. But they did run out of roster spots, so Tuesday they designated him for assignment, effectively ending Wood's career with the only organization he has ever known.
"It was tough," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's one of our guys. We just have no way out of this right now. There's no roster flexibility. Brandon needs to go and play and get an opportunity to establish his career.
"And we'll be proud of him when it happens."
With Erick Aybar due to rejoin the team from the disabled list Wednesday, the Angels needed to clear a roster spot and couldn't afford to keep another infielder. And with Wood out of minor league options, the team was forced to designate him, giving them 10 days to trade him or place him on waivers, where he's all but certain to be claimed by another team.
Wood, 26, a first-round pick in the 2003 draft, was minor league player of the year two seasons later when he batted .321 with 43 home runs and 115 runs batted in.
But he couldn't figure out major league pitching, batting only .168 over parts of five seasons.
As he passed through the clubhouse for the final time Tuesday, a teary-eyed Wood was embraced by teammates.
"It's tears and just some thoughts of a bunch of really good people. People that were in my wedding," whispered Wood, who married in December.
"That's the toughest part. Baseball's a game and I'm not done playing. And there's going to be somewhere else where I can go play and prove myself, redeem myself as a player.
"But the tough part is [leaving] a good organization that I first knew, that I love."
Wood conceded that the move might prove to be a good one, for him and the Angels.
"I think everybody in this room will say that is what I needed, from the staff to Scioscia to most of the guys. I had my chance to get it locked down last year and it didn't happen.
"But when you do all you can to be nothing but an Angel, you go to bed thinking about it, wake up in the morning thinking about it. Even after last year you've got it in the back of your head that if something happens you're going to go in and redeem yourself and turn the boos into cheers.
"But that's just not the way it worked out."
Torii Hunter's struggles continue
Torii Hunter had a single in four at-bats Tuesday, leaving him two for 19 in five games on the trip, and with only four hits in his last 35 at-bats overall.
"He's trying to get back to finding that comfort level with more of a shorter stroke," Scioscia said of Hunter, whose batting average is .219 this season, with 16 strikeouts in 17 games. "It's just that he's got a little out of sync and his swing's gotten too big."
In the past Scioscia has given struggling players a day off to clear their heads, but he's not contemplating that with Hunter just yet.
"Right now we want him to stay out there and find it in games," Scioscia said. "If it continues it's definitely something to look at."