Dodgers outfielder Bobby Abreu celebrates after hitting a three-run double… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)
Less than two weeks after being released by the Angels, Bobby Abreu is making his presence felt with the Dodgers.
The 38-year-old outfielder entered Tuesday batting .296 (eight for 27) since joining the Dodgers on May 4, with four doubles and four runs batted in.
That included a bases-clearing double that helped lead the Dodgers to an 11-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
"I feel comfortable at the plate, no problems, and I've been swinging the bat OK," said Abreu, a left-handed batter. "I'm happy to be here."
Abreu, a 17-year veteran, has 2,397 hits but his production and role with the Angels had diminished. Abreu was released and 20-year-old outfielder Mike Trout was promoted from triple-A Salt Lake.
"I know he's getting older and I know [the Angels] got crowded over there," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said of Abreu. "But to me he's a tough out. This guy is just a good hitter.
"Now, do I think he's going to drive in 100 [runs] and be able to play every day? I don't," Mattingly said. "But if we keep him strong and match him up" in favorable spots against opposing pitchers "he's going to be good for us, another solid bat."
Hershiser weighs in
It was Orel Hershiser bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium, and before the game the former Dodgers pitching great said "there's a lot of hope" among Dodgers fans about the team's new ownership.
"I'm really excited and I think the Dodgers fans are responding," said Hershiser, winner of the National League Cy Young Award and the World Series most valuable player in 1988. "I know it's early in the season but to have the team performing so well, it really gives the new ownership great momentum."
Hershiser threw out the ceremonial first pitch to the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, last year's Cy Young Award winner.
"He's not reached even close to his full potential," Hershiser said of the 24-year-old Kershaw. "He's still learning as a pitcher, learning himself, learning how to get through those outings when he doesn't have his best stuff. And even his best stuff is not his best yet."
Ethier in center field
With Matt Kemp going on the disabled list, Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier was pressed into duty as the team's center fielder Tuesday night and caught a fly ball from Arizona's Gerardo Parra for the game's first out.
It was the first time Ethier started a regular-season game in center field in his seven-year career, although he did play center field for the NL in the 2010 All-Star game.
Tony Gwynn Jr. is expected to be Kemp's primary replacement in center field, but with the Dodgers playing an afternoon game Wednesday after Tuesday night's game, Mattingly rested Gwynn and turned to Ethier.
"I told Donnie it doesn't matter where you put me in the outfield, as long as it gives us the best shot that day," Ethier said.