Reporting from St. Louis -- For most of Sunday, Brandon Wood couldn't hit. Literally.
The Angels told the third baseman to take batting practice off for a second consecutive day and then held him out of the starting lineup again, a somewhat unconventional move that Manager Mike Scioscia said was designed to let Wood "try to decompress" amid his season-long struggles.
But a wrist injury to fill-in third baseman Kevin Frandsen forced the Angels to insert Wood as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning against St. Louis at Busch Stadium. He flied out to right field in the eighth, dropping his batting average to .156.
While saying that the Angels remained committed to helping Wood emerge from his protracted slump, General Manager Tony Reagins acknowledged before the game that there was a limit to how long the team could afford to let Wood keep playing if his productivity doesn't improve.
"You'll get to a point, and I'm not saying that point is close, where you'll have to weigh if it's hurting 24 other guys or not giving us an opportunity to win ballgames, and when it gets to that point then we have to take a look at it," Reagins said.
Frandsen started at third base Sunday for a second consecutive game, but a more attractive alternative could emerge soon in utility infielder Maicer Izturis. Scioscia said Izturis, currently on the disabled list, could return by the middle of next week from the inflammation in his right shoulder that has sidelined him since early this month.
The Angels cannot let Wood tinker with his swing at triple-A Salt Lake because he is out of minor league options, leaving them in a somewhat untenable position if Wood doesn't start hitting. Sunday marked the first time this season that Wood had been out of the starting lineup for consecutive games.
"Either he sits or gets out there and plays or it's sporadic, so we have to figure out what that mix is right now," Reagins said. "It's difficult because you don't want him to completely lose his season because of his confidence level, but at the same time you want to try to get him going."
A pair of homers
Kendry Morales' second-inning home run against Chris Carpenter gave the Angels at least one homer in 10 consecutive games, their longest streak since they homered in 13 straight games in September 2008. The Angels have 14 homers in their last nine games after totaling eight in the first 12 games this month.
Mike Napoli added a three-run homer and has homered on a career-high three consecutive days, a welcome power surge for the catcher who had only one extra-base hit in 42 at-bats in April. He homered in four of the seven games on the trip, putting him on pace for a career-high 22 homers.
Fifteen of Napoli's last 21 hits have been for extra bases, and his 14 extra-base hits in May are a personal best in a month.
"We need that lineup to get deep, and he's one of the guys that we've waited on," Scioscia said of Napoli. "He's starting to swing it."
Scioscia said Jeff Mathis' throwing needed to progress "a little more" before the catcher could begin a rehabilitation assignment. Mathis has been sidelined since April 20 because of a broken right wrist.
Buy Angels tickets here
Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.