PCL baseball: Former Bee tested by struggles in major leagues
PCL baseball • Wood says he finds happiness, if not success in game.
Published: June 1, 2012 10:38PM
Updated: September 11, 2012 11:32PM
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This is a 2012 photo of Brandon Wood of the Colorado Rockies baseball team. This image reflects the Colorado Rockies active roster as of Feb. 28, 2012 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

It can’t be 10 years since Brandon Wood was selected No. 1 by the Los Angeles Angels, can it?

It’s true. Unfortunately for the Scottsdale native and former Salt Lake Bee taken as the 23rd player in the 2003 MLB Amateur Draft, time didn’t fly by because the long, lean infielder was having fun.

Wood’s story is a cautionary tale, albeit one that is played regularly in the minor leagues. Still, at age 27, Wood, now playing for the Colorado Sky Sox, remains focused on his future.

“I’m still happy playing baseball,” said Wood, who was not a factor as Hank Conger’s walk-off single Friday gave the Bees a 6-5 victory at Spring Mobile Ballpark. “It’s frustrating when not going well. Anyone who walks around with a smile on their face and happy hitting .225 is probably not telling you the truth.

“At the same time, when I leave the ballpark, I leave it here.”

Wood hit 77 home runs and drove in more than 500 runs in parts of five seasons with Salt Lake. As recent as 2008, Baseball America still had the third baseman listed as the Angels’ No. 16 prospect.

But Wood has never been able to find success in the major leagues. Right now, he is struggling to find the swing that allowed The Sporting News to name him the 2005 Minor League Player of the Year.

In 2010, the Angels all but handed Wood the third base position. Calling the year a struggle would be kind. He hit .146 in 81 games.

Wood spent much of 2011 with Pittsburgh. He was released at the end of the season and signed a minor league deal with Colorado.

“I’ve been working through a few things,” Wood said. “Everybody’s trying to help. You have to know your swing.”

During Wood’s years with the Angels, there was a constant battle to refine his long, looping swing. He’d find it again with the Bees, only to lose it again with Los Angeles.

“Anybody’s character would be tested,” Wood said. “At the same time, I’ve done a lot in the game and had some good games in the big leagues. I know the talent is still there. The talent never left.

“I’m staying positive. I’ve been down before … you can’t sleep at night and all the negativity and reading articles on how I’m failed prospect. I’m still happy.”

martyr@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribmarty

Storylines Bees 6, Sky Sox 5

R Six different Salt Lake batters drive in runs Friday, including Hank Conger with a walk-off single in the ninth with the bases loaded.

• The Bees’ Francisco Rodriguez and Kevin Jepsen combine for 31⁄3 innings of scoreless relief.