Saturday, July 9, 2011
Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter praise Derek Jeter
ANAHEIM -- At least two Angels players texted congratulations to Derek Jeter on Saturday for picking up his 3,000th hit in the Bronx.
Bobby Abreu played two-and-a-half seasons with Jeter in New York and Torii Hunter is a personal friend of the Yankees' shortstop through various All-Star appearances. Both players were effusive in their praise of New York's captain.
"He's a very friendly, nice person. That's what you want from a leader," Abreu said. "It doesn't matter if he's mad or not -- and I never saw him mad -- to me, that's a leader, that's a captain of the team. I guess he would have problems like everybody else, but he kept those problems behind him. You never saw them on the field."
Abreu has been passing milestones all season. The possibility of him reaching 3,000 hits is a remote one, but not impossible. He's 657 hits short. If he has a sizzling second half and picks up 90 more this season, he would probably have to play until he's at least 41 to get there.
"Of course, you would want something like that. That's a special accomplishment," Abreu said. "Not everyone can reach there."
Hunter said the respect Jeter earns from his peers is what stands out.
"I guarantee you, he's never once said, 'I'm the captain of the team or I do this,' " Hunter said. "I've never heard or read anything like that. You guys and the players made him that. He just goes and plays the game, lead by example."
* Reliever Fernando Rodney said he probably will throw twice in the bullpen, Sunday and Tuesday, before embarking next weekend on a minor-league rehab assignment. Rodney could return to the Angels' bullpen on around July 18. He has been out since June 13 because of back spasms.
* Prediction Mike Trout's first big-league hit will be tonight, a slow roller on the infield.
UPDATE: It is, indeed, an infield hit, a bunt to the pitcher, who rushes, throws wildly and allows a run to score.
Here are lineups for Saturday night's game, in which the Angels get their first look at Seattle's hard-throwing rookie right-hander, Michael Pineda: