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Monday, April 5, 2010
Angels streamline radio team


ANAHEIM -- The Los Angeles Angels are going with an unusual arrangement for the radio broadcasts of their home games. Terry Smith will be doing all nine innings by himself.
When was the last time the Angels had a one-man broadcast team?

“Maybe never,” said Angels vice president for communications Tim Mead, who is in his 31st season with the team.

Smith’s partner for road games will be Jose Mota, a bilingual broadcaster who will concentrate on Spanish language and TV broadcasts for home games. The Angels did not renew the contracts of longtime broadcasters Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler in November.

“We still look at it as a team,” Mead said. “We think we have an outstanding broadcaster in Terry.”

Team play-by-play man Rory Markas died in January, but Markas was scheduled to concentrate exclusively on TV duties this season. The Angels hired Victor Rojas last month to team with Mark Gubicza on TV broadcasts.

In previous seasons, Markas and Smith traded play-by-play and color commentary duties for radio.

Smith said he was hit hard by the emotions of not seeing Markas at the ballpark on Monday, opening day.

“It started from the second I woke up today,” Smith said.

BRIGHT LIGHTS

Brandon Wood has had 224 major-league at-bats, but it’s fair to say none of them felt like his first plate appearance Monday night.

Wood, 25, was ready to make his first Opening Day start after opening the three previous seasons at Triple A. The third baseman is being given his first chance to be an everyday player.

“It was exciting to wake up this morning and come in here. You’re part of Opening Day,” Wood said. “Being in the lineup, that’s something I’ve envisioned for a long time.”

Wood was batting eighth Monday and he figures to stay near the bottom of the lineup for the time being. The Angels want to ease him into the major leagues gently, with as little pressure as possible.

Wood has batted .192 in scattered major-league opportunities, but the Angels think his offensive potential remains untapped. He played sterling defense this spring while batting .278 with one home run and 15 strikeouts in 72 at-bats.

“This guy's got lightning hands. He can take you out to any part of the ballpark,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “That's going to be something we want to give him an opportunity to see if he can do.”

KAZMIR READY

Pitcher Scott Kazmir said he has “no doubt,” that he will join the Angels’ rotation early next week in New York, having missed just one start.

Kazmir is on the 15-day disabled list after being delayed this spring with hamstring and shoulder injuries, but it is retroactive to March 31.

He pitched seven innings in a minor-league game in Arizona Sunday and will start Friday at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on a rehab assignment. Kazmir said he could have pitched against the Oakland A’s Friday, but understands the team’s desire to play it safe.

“We talked about it. I felt like I was [ready], but at the same time, I didn’t get that many innings,” Kazmir said.