Mike Scioscia more or less confirmed what folks who think a lot about baseball had been hoping for: Brandon Wood will break Angels' camp as the starting third baseman. There had been concerns that the three-year, $10-million deal the club gave to Maicer Izturis this winter would serve to block Wood. Again. Scioscia says, however, that he's "looking for [Wood] to get the first opportunity there, with Izzy helping out with the versatility he brings to play second, third and shortstop."
Wood hasn't been consistent in his multiple cups of coffee over the past three years, but he has simply raked down on the farm. He has power. He has nothing left to prove at AAA. The Angels need to play him now or lose him forever. I'm high on him, so I'm happy to see that he's getting a shot at regular playing time. The only question now is, if Wood struggles early, how short a leash Scioscia will have with him.
A fairly short leash, I would guess. It's not just Izturis who's lurking about; anyway, he's best cast as a super-utility guy and isn't likely to repeat last year's numbers. The Angels also have Freddy Sandoval, who isn't much of a third baseman and doesn't have Wood's power, but strikes out roughly half as often as Wood and isn't likely to suffer long stretches of sub-.200 batting averages. (Those tend to have a powerful impact on managers.)
Not that Sandoval's guaranteed a job in the majors. Like Izturis, he's a switch-hitter and a player of many positions, and it's not clear that Scioscia needs (or wants) two players like that on his roster. But with both those guys, if Wood's not hitting in May he's probably going to lose his every-day job.