Outfielder Bobby Abreu is batting .115 this spring. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
Tempe, Ariz. -- Most established position players use spring training to get into "baseball shape," to find their timing and rhythm at the plate, while putting very little emphasis on results.
Which is why Angels veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, a 38-year-old entering his 16th big-league season, is not concerned about the .115 average (three for 26) he took into Thursday's exhibition game against the Kansas City Royals.
"I just want to feel good with my swing, with my legs, with my body, and to make good contact," Abreu said. "Right now, I'm worried about getting myself ready for the season."
Considering his circumstances, Abreu should be a lot more concerned with his performance.
He came to camp dissatisfied with a role reduction, saying he preferred to be traded if he wasn't going to get regular playing time, and he has since done nothing to warrant starting ahead of players such as Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo at designated hitter and Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter in the outfield.
And with Abreu's $9-million salary and declining defensive skills, it will be virtually impossible for the Angels to trade him without swallowing most, if not all, of his contract.
"He's definitely searching for some timing," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Bobby can still hit, but there's a component of spring training in every player where they want to get their feet on the ground, their body in shape, and Bobby's at that point. I know it's going to help him to start squaring some balls up more and having some hits fall in, and hopefully we're going to start seeing that."
Scioscia said the team's evaluation of Abreu won't be based on statistics, "but definitely, I think as he starts to get on more pitches, have better swings ... we'll be able to gauge where he is."
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