Outfielder Bobby Abreu was summoned to a meeting with Manager Mike Scioscia… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
Tempe, Ariz. — It can't be a very good spring when you've had half as many closed-door meetings with the manager and general manager (two) as you've had hits (four) in a dozen exhibition games.
But those were the sad statistics Bobby Abreu was saddled with Saturday after being summoned by Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and GM Jerry Dipoto, who questioned the veteran outfielder about his critical comments to a Venezuelan publication.
Abreu, unhappy with his diminished role, entered camp saying he preferred to be traded if he wasn’t going to play every day, comments that got him called into the manager's office before the team's first full-squad workout.
This week, Abreu was quoted by the newspaper Lider en Deportes as saying he didn't put a lot of stock in Scioscia's prediction that the 38-year-old will get 400 plate appearances this season.
"I've learned not to have much confidence in these people," Abreu said, "but I hope they live up to what they told me."
After meeting with Abreu, Scioscia said the comments "were recycled from three weeks ago. Believe me, it's not an issue."
Dipoto declined to comment specifically about Abreu's quotes, saying, "We're not going to make it a public spat. Bobby understands the situation. No question, we feel we've been up front with him."
Abreu spent most of 2011 as the team's primary designated hitter, batting a career-low .253 with eight home runs and 60 runs batted in.
The Angels are set in the outfield with Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter; first baseman Albert Pujols is pushing young slugger Mark Trumbo into more of a utility role; and Kendrys Morales seems likely to assume most of the designated hitter at-bats, so there appears to be little, if no, need for Abreu.
The 16-year veteran also hasn't made much of a case for himself this spring, with a .121 average (four for 33), two doubles and one RBI in Cactus League play.
Abreu's declining defensive skills and $9-million salary make it virtually impossible for the Angels to trade him, so the team may have no choice but to release him if he continues to struggle and be a distraction.
"Being a veteran player, he knows how to prepare himself, to get himself into game shape," Dipoto said. "He hasn't had a great spring, but he's played 16 years in the big leagues. It takes a little more time. We're trusting a veteran's ability to prepare himself."
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