Reporting from Kansas City, Mo. — Bobby Abreu would seem to be a fringe Hall of Fame candidate at best, because with 2,170 career hits, the 36-year-old right fielder is far from the 3,000-hit threshold that virtually assures election.
But Manager Mike Scioscia thinks a closer examination of Abreu's career, especially his plate discipline, should push Abreu toward Cooperstown.
Abreu hit his 500th career double Wednesday to become one of only four players in major league history with 500 doubles, 250 homers and 350 stolen bases; the others are Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson and Craig Biggio.
Abreu has also averaged 100 walks and 100 runs in his 12½ big-league seasons, but Scioscia thinks he could have accumulated 400 to 500 more hits if he didn't have such a discerning eye.
"If he didn't work counts and he swung at more pitches, he'd be near 3,000 hits," Scioscia said. "He could easily have 30 to 40 more hits a year if he didn't walk 100 times.
"But that's how he plays. He plays to win. I hope people will appreciate that more when they start to consider him for the Hall of Fame. He's been a terrific player for a long time."
The possible expansion of instant replay was the hot topic around baseball Thursday after umpire Jim Joyce's blown ninth-inning call that cost Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game Wednesday night.
Scioscia thinks replay should be expanded on a limited basis to include plays such as trapped balls in the outfield, but he is adamant about no replays for calls on the bases.
Pitcher Joe Saunders thinks replay should be expanded, but only for the playoffs and with a system similar to the "red-flag challenge" used in the NFL.
"Give managers one opportunity during the game to review any call not involving balls and strikes, whether it's an out call on the bases, catch or no catch," Saunders said.
"In the playoffs, there are 50 million television cameras, so if you want to get it right, that's a road they should go down. But for the regular season, we should keep what we have now, for the integrity of the game."
One thing all agreed on: Joyce did well to admit his mistake.
"He's one of the best umpires in the game," reliever Scot Shields said, "and the way he came out and admitted he was wrong, I have even more respect for him."
Neither left fielder Juan Rivera nor infielder Maicer Izturis played Thursday, Rivera because of injury, Izturis for precautionary reasons.
Rivera was sore after fouling a ball off his left big toe in the fourth inning Wednesday. Rivera doubled and scored but left the game in the bottom of the fourth. X-rays were inconclusive, and Rivera thinks he'll be able to play Friday night in Seattle.
Izturis was activated off the disabled list May 25 and had started five straight games before Thursday.
"We're just trying to pace Izzy," Scioscia said. "With a day game after [Wednesday] night's game, we wanted to split [his starts] up. He's fine."
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