Thursday, April 24, 2014
Abreu gets first start since '12; Grandy sits
By Danny Knobler | Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- Bobby Abreu turned 40 in March. When he plays right field Thursday afternoon for the Mets, it will be the first time he has started a major league game in 21 months.
The plan is that he won't go two years before his next start. But it likely won't be two days, either.
The Mets brought Abreu to the big leagues with the idea of using him mostly as an experienced bat off the bench. Manager Terry Collins strongly believes he'll help a team that has been offensively challenged this season.
"I still think that as we go down the road, he's going to be a huge bat for us," Collins said Thursday morning.
To be that, Collins knows, he'll also need to have Abreu start a few games. In many cases, that will mean a day off for Curtis Granderson, because Collins believes Abreu is most comfortable playing right field.
Collins said he would like to start Abreu once a week. Abreu says that should work.
"Once or twice a week is fine," he said.
Granderson hasn't emerged yet from his early struggles. His first-inning hit Wednesday night broke a career-high streak of 22 consecutive hitless at-bats -- it was his only hit in the past 10 days.
Collins believes the only way for Granderson to get going is to keep playing regularly. The manager is willing to wait for the production to start coming.
"I have a lot more patience than a lot of people," Collins said.
One reason Collins chose to insert Abreu in Thursday's lineup is because Bartolo Colon is starting, and Colon normally allows more ground balls than fly balls.
Collins on pine tar: Collins managed in the dry air of Albuquerque, so he's familiar with conditions that would cause a pitcher to want to use pine tar to get a better grip on the ball. He doesn't want baseball to change the rules, but like most in the game, he simply believes it should be used with discretion (and not the way Michael Pineda did for the Yankees).
Collins said he doesn't believe most pitchers are attempting to cheat.
"The era of the spitball is gone," he said.