PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rockies non-roster infielder Brandon Wood started Spring Training hot and made himself a contender for a season-opening roster spot before descending into some old bad habits. But he is using an entirely new method to regain his swing. Wood, who entered Tuesday night with 11 strikeouts in 29 at-bats, halted his slump with a late sacrifice fly as part of the Rockies' come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Angels on Monday. Wood, 27, was an Angels' No. 1 Draft pick in 2003, and was with them until joining the Pirates last season.
The key for Wood was spending time in Denver working not only on his swing but on his mental approach. In the past, Wood would begin tinkering after a small number of bad at-bats. Sometimes he would confuse himself by incorporating a myriad of well-meaning suggestions. "I was doing so many things that there wasn't just one thing to fix," Wood said. "If I didn't have a good game, I couldn't just say, 'OK, it was leg,' because I would do different things with my feet, the next day I would do something different with my hands. I would go in the cage and try this and that. It was just overload." After the Rockies signed Wood, they brought him to Denver for three days to work on his swing, and hitting coach Carney Lansford has followed up with him. Wood developed a consistent base from which his swing originates. Wood struggled for about a week but felt he was regaining his stroke. "If this was me in the past, I would have started to do something different after the first four at-bats where I struck out three times," Wood said. "I'd have thought, 'OK, that's not working.' But I had put in so much time and effort and I trust the opinions of who I'm working with to where I don't need to go anywhere else. It's not a panic mode." Even if he doesn't make the team on Opening Day, Wood is confident he can help during the season. He has impressed the Rockies with his ability to play all infield positions, and has dabbled with the outfield.