Angels Call Up Wood

After spending two years as the Angels’ No. 1 prospect, Brandon Wood will get a chance to end his streak.

The Angels promoted Wood to the major leagues for the first time after Wednesday night’s 9-1 victory against the Devil Rays, adding him to their 40-man roster while sending first baseman/DH Kendry Morales back to the minors. Wood, 22, was a first-round pick out of an Arizona high school in 2003, and has shifted from shortstop to third base this spring training. While a 2-for-17 slump had dropped his average to .278, Wood had three home runs and six doubles for Triple-A Salt Lake prior to the promotion. He also had 28 strikeouts in just 79 at-bats.

Power and strikeouts have been two of Wood’s calling cards during his fascinating minor league career. He had a season for the ages in 2005, when he swatted 43 home runs at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga as a shortstop and led the minor leagues with 101 extra-base hits, then added a record 14 home runs in the Arizona Fall League. Wood also has played for Team USA the last two years, hitting a crucial homer off Pedro Lazo in Havana last August to beat Cuba and clinch a spot for the U.S. in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He had slugged .537 as a pro entering 2007.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Angels moved injured outfielder Juan Rivera to the 60-man disabled list. The Angels needed Wood’s righthanded bat more after his former minor league running mate, second baseman Howie Kendrick, went on the disabled list April 19 with a broken bone in his left hand. Wood’s power bat stands in sharp contrast to the slap-and-dash approach of many of the Angels’ infield options, such as Erick Aybar and Maicer Iztruis.