Scioscia not fretting about rookie combo
Wood, Rodriguez not hitting yet but proving their worth
ANAHEIM -- Never mind the numbers, says Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Rookie infielders Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez -- called upon to fill holes in an infield riddled with injuries during the first two months of the season -- have more than proven their worth.
"Defensively, you can't ask for more than what they have been giving us," Scioscia said prior to the middle game of a three-game series with the Tigers. "They've filled in and keep making plays to help us hold on and win games. They're obviously struggling with some things in the batter's box. But our issue is not to focus on one or two guys at the bottom of the batting order."
Entering Tuesday, Wood has started 10 of the 15 games in which he's appeared -- mostly at third base -- and has one error in 31 chances. Rodriguez, called up May 4 from Triple-A Salt Lake, has started at second base in all 18 of the games in which he's played, and has one error in 103 chances.
Scioscia was quick to point out two swings by Wood in Monday night's 12-inning win that could have made extra time unnecessary.
"He's been getting better swings," Scioscia said. "He just missed two home runs last night. He got under one and hit one to the wall."
With Rodriguez hitting .140 and Wood at .122 entering Tuesday, Scioscia allowed there's some concern, but he refused to focus on their averages.
Wood says he thinks he's getting to the heart of the problem. "I need to not swing at bad pitches early to be a success," he said. "Being a young hitter, you try to do too much."
Scioscia noted Wood had worked on his batting mechanics during the recent road trip. "We're trying to get his hands in a simpler position," the manager said.
As for the mental part, Scioscia fended off any notion that Wood is laboring under the expectations that preceded his arrival at the Major League level.
"He's a heck of a player," Scioscia said. "I don't think there's anything a player is going to put on himself because the media put a label on him."
Wood concurred: "I'm not feeling a lot of pressure. I don't put a lot of thought into it. Being labeled a prospect certainly doesn't mean anything once you get here. The goal is to try to stay here, try to get better every day."
For his part, Rodriguez said the frustration he feels at the plate is mitigated by an important lesson he learned in the Minors.
"It took me a couple of years to separate defense and offense," Rodriguez said. "You can make or break a game with either. The sooner you learn that, the more you help yourself out."
Scioscia, upbeat as ever about the two rookies' progress, said, "A couple of hits for Brandon, not just for Sean, are going to go a long way. They're certainly not overmatched at the plate. They've just got to get into a rhythm."
Ted Brock is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.