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ANGELS FYI

Angels might find a new reliever with a familiar face

Jose Arredondo, who starred as a rookie last season, has looked good in his last few outings in the minors.

July 22, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna and Mike DiGiovanna reporting from kansas city, mo.

KANSAS CITY, MO. — For much of April and May, the biggest question surrounding Bobby Abreu was this: When would the Angels outfielder hit his first home run?

That shot finally came on May 26, in the Angels' 45th game of the season, and while the home runs have not flown off the 35-year-old's bat -- he has only seven this season after hitting 20 for the Yankees in 2008 -- there are no questions about Abreu's production.

Abreu had three run-scoring doubles in the nightcap of the Angels' doubleheader sweep of the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night and is now batting .310 with 20 doubles and a team-leading 63 RBIs.

He has 47 of those RBIs in his last 45 games, and he leads the Angels with 16 go-ahead RBIs. He is tied with Chone Figgins for the team lead with 52 walks and has a team-leading .402 on-base percentage.

Abreu, who signed a one-year, $5-million deal just days before the start of spring training, leads the American League with a .404 average (40 for 99) with runners in scoring position.

"There's no question as to how important he's been to our club," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're seeing first-hand how talented he is. I can't remember one give-away at-bat he's had all year. His season is as important to us as anything we can talk about as to why we've been able to keep our heads above water."

When Abreu reaches 250 home runs -- he is two away -- he will be one of only six players in major league history with 250 homers, 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs, 1,000 runs batted in, 1,000 walks and 300 stolen bases.

The others are Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson and Willie Mays.

Abreu also stole his 20th base of the season in the first game Tuesday and has stolen at least 20 bases for 11 straight years, the longest streak of any active player.

Chapman avenue

The Angels, according to a source, are in the "fact-gathering stages" of their pursuit of Aroldis Chapman, the hard-throwing, 21-year-old left-hander who defected from the Cuban national team in early July, and they are expected to be among the serious bidders for Chapman when he becomes a free agent.

Chapman's fastball has been clocked at 100 mph, but he is considered a raw talent whose secondary pitches need work. Still, he could garner a deal in excess of $30 million.

Angels first baseman Kendry Morales followed a similar path, but the 25-year-old doesn't have any inside information on Chapman. "When I was on the national team he was just a young kid," Morales said through an interpreter.

Short hops

Closer Brian Fuentes threw a scoreless ninth inning in Game 1 for his major league-leading 29th save. He has given up no runs and six hits in his last 15 innings and has converted 16 consecutive save opportunities. . . . Morales extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games with two hits in the first game. He did not play in the nightcap. . . . The Angels optioned pitcher Sean O'Sullivan back to triple-A after Tuesday night's game and recalled outfielder Terry Evans, who is batting .290 with 19 homers and 66 RBIs in 93 games. Though O'Sullivan improved to 3-0 with a win in the nightcap, the Angels, who have two off days in the next two weeks, won't need a fifth starter until Aug. 8. And with Juan Rivera slowed by a tight right hamstring, they needed some outfield coverage.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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