The Angels love Maicer Izturis. How do we know this?
Well, we can start with the fact that they just awarded the utility infielder a $10 million, three-year contract. For good reason, too: Izturis was fourth on the team in runs scored last year, despite getting fewer than 400 at-bats and not having an everyday position.
The biggest dilemma for Mike Scioscia this season, provided everyone stays healthy, will be doling out playing time for Izturis and two of the Angels' most promising young guys, Howie Kendrick and Brandon Wood.
Neither Kendrick nor Wood will get any better if he's not playing. Frankly, Wood will probably get worse. Until he started getting tastes of the big leagues in 2007, Wood, soon to turn 25, had never experienced sitting on the bench for extended periods.
It's fair to suppose part of the reason he has batted .192 in the big leagues is because his playing time has been so sporadic. Wood has a long swing. Layoffs tend to make him prone to swing and miss frequently. Given enough playing time, he has 30-plus home run potential, but it will take patience from Scioscia.
Does he have it?
"I just know my swing," Wood said. "Mike knows I want to play every day. Sometimes, if it doesn't work out that way and I can't control it, it's something I'm not too worried about.
"I have the confidence that, with at-bats and playing time, I can be the type of player they said I was going to be in the minor leagues and I haven't shown yet at this level."