Abreu not ready to play supporting role

Abreu batted just .253 last season

Although Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Bobby Abreu is coming off a poor season, he's hoping to play a key role for his club in 2012. The former All-Star met recently met with manager Mike Scioscia to discuss his role.

Bobby Abreu was all smiles when he arrived at Angels' camp last week in Tempe. But he was not a happy man.

A week before arriving, Abreu did an interview with ESPNDeportes.com in which he expressed his uncertainty and displeasure with what he expected to be a diminished role for the 2012 Angels.

If he is going to be "a bench player," Abreu said, he would rather the Angels traded him.

On his first day in camp, Abreu met with manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto to discuss those comments and his role in the team's plans. He came out of that meeting having been assured there was more than a bench role for him with the team.

"I'm fine; I'm OK," Abreu said of his mindset after the meeting. "We had a nice conversation this morning. It was very good. We talked about what we needed to talk about. We're talking about 400."

Scioscia clarified that he could see Abreu getting 400 plate appearances (not at-bats) as a designated hitter and in the corner outfield spots. But those at-bats could be hard to find if Kendrys Morales successfully returns from his May 2010 ankle fracture.

Even at that, Abreu didn't seem thrilled with 400 plate appearances after averaging 680 per year over the last 13 seasons.

"It's not enough," Abreu said. "I've been getting 600, most of the time 700 at-bats every year. But like I said, that's the situation right now. Let's see how it's going to be handled, what's going to happen. Let's see.

"It's just a number. But I think it can be a little bit more."

Abreu, who will turn 38 this month, might deserve far less playing time. He slumped badly in the second half of 2011, batting .189 after the end of July and posting career-lows in most offensive categories.

Scioscia benched him at times, snapping Abreu's streak of playing at least 150 games for 13 consecutive seasons, tied with Willie Mays for the MLB record, but not benching him often enough to prevent a plate-appearances clause in Abreu's contract from being activated.

The Angels will pay Abreu $9 million this season as a result of that option.



Angels Notes & Quotes

  • RHP Ysmael Carmona cleared waivers and was outrighted to Class AAA Salt Lake, clearing a spot on the Angels' 40-man roster. Carmona, 27, missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. He made just six relief appearances in 2010, all for Salt Lake, going 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA.

  • 1B Mark Trumbo had his right foot re-examined in Los Angeles and was cleared to begin running and increase the level of his workouts at third base. Trumbo had been limited by a stress fracture in his right foot that was slow to heal. He was taking ground balls at third early in camp but not moving laterally or charging plays.

  • Manager Mike Scioscia is entering his 13th season as the Angels manager. One of the things he instituted as part of the annual spring training routine is appearances by former players as guest instructors. Already this spring, four players from the 2002 World Series championship team have been in camp -- Scot Shields, Tim Salmon, Bengie Molina and David Eckstein.

  • 1B-DH Kendrys Morales continues to progress in his attempt to come back from a broken left ankle sustained in May 2010. Morales' running program has progressed to running S-turns on the outfield grass, farther than he ever advanced during his attempt to return last spring.

    The switch-hitter also is taking batting practice from both sides of the plate. Last spring, the Angels did not let him bat from the right side because of the additional torque placed on his injured ankle, because his left is his landing foot when he swings right-handed.

  • RHP Juan Rincon signed a minor league contract with the Angels but did not receive an invitation to the major league camp. In parts of 10 seasons, primarily with the Twins, Rincon has a 35-29 record, three saves and a 4.03 ERA as a reliever.

    He has not pitched in the majors since 2010 and was one of the first players to fail a drug test after Major League Baseball started testing for performance-enhancing drugs. He was suspended for 10 games in 2005. The penalty has since been raised to 50 games.

  • RHP Jerome Williams sustained a hamstring injury during Friday's workout. He was scheduled to be examined by doctors to evaluate the extent of the injury. Williams came into camp with the edge on the competition for the fifth-starter spot in the Angels' rotation.

  • By the Numbers: 1,066 – Career victories for Angels' manager Mike Scioscia, entering his 13th year with the team.

  • Quote to Note: "It's always been a good color for me." -- Former Angel SS David Eckstein, when told he looked good back in red. Eckstein won World Series rings with the Angels and Cardinals.
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