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Saturday, February 19, 2011
What's to be done with Brandon Wood?

By Mark Saxon

Brandon Wood can't recall how many times he changed his swing last year in the midst of what proved to be a nightmarish first full season.

"You just try to find a quick fix, you know?" Wood said. "It's like a drug addict, you go run down the street real quick to try and feel good. It was whatever I could get to feel good."

Nothing worked for long. Wood batted .146 with just six walks and 71 strikeouts. His role devolved from everyday player to barely-used reserve.

His search for answers this winter brought him to New York Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, who lives near Wood in Arizona. Long talked to him about getting his lower half in sync with his upper body.

"I said, 'Can I just give you a shout in the off-season and hear your philosophies?' He said, 'Sure,' " Wood said. "So, he gave me his philosophies. It was the same thing I could have gotten on the MLB Channel in early January."

Wood, 25, realizes he could be playing for the rest of baseball this spring. The Angels don't seem to have a role for him and he's a little too young to settle into a utility role. He's also out of options, meaning he can't be demoted without clearing waivers.

It's quite likely the Angels will trade him by the end of spring training.

"I don't think it's going to help Brandon at this point of his career to be a utility type player getting 150 to 200 at-bats a year," manager Mike Scioscia said. "His challenge in the long term is to move forward with being an everyday player, which he still has the upside to be."

Wood did not work out with the rest of the Angels position players Saturday because he has a mildly strained lower back.