Bobby Abreu told he'll get 400 PAs
Abreu, who last week told ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com he would rather be traded than become a utility player, met with general manager Jerry DiPoto and manager Mike Scioscia and later spoke to the media gathered at Diablo Stadium in Tempe.
The scenario they presented was that I will have 400 at-bats, could be more. I would be played as DH, left and right field, and well, that's what they presented, let's see if they keep their word.” -- Bobby Abreu
"I said I wanted to play every day, which is what I've done all my career. I've always played 150-plus games, I love playing, I want to be in the field every day," Abreu said. "But this is what we have.
"I feel good, OK. I was working in Venezuela and I'm happy to be in the playing field," added Abreu, who revealed details of his meeting with DiPoto and Scioscia.
"The scenario they presented was that I will have 400 at-bats, could be more. I would be played as DH, left and right field, and well, that's what they presented, let's see if they keep their word," Abreu said. "I don't feel comfortable, I've always had between 600 and 700 at-bats, but it is a different situation now and we will see what happens."
Later, Scioscia said he told Abreu it would be 400 plate appearances, not 400 at-bats.
Abreu softened his play-me-or-trade-me stance he took last week, but not by much.
"It's a business sometimes and you don't know where you're going to be tomorrow," Abreu said. "Right now, I'm an Angel, I wear the Angel uniform and I'll do anything I can do just to help them win."
Last season, the 37-year-old outfielder was used mostly as a designated hitter by Scioscia. When the Angels opened their training camp last week, the manager said that Kendrys Morales would be his DH and bat cleanup and that Mark Trumbo would also get some games as DH. The Angels' outfield is comprised of Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and Peter Bourjos, which greatly reduces Abreu's chance of playing any of the positions on a regular basis.
"Bobby is an important part of this team, and that's the most important thing", said Albert Pujols, whose locker is right by Abreu's.
The newfound depth is beneficial to the Angels, but represents a drastic change for Abreu, one of the game's steadiest producers for more than a decade. Last season, he had fewer than 600 plate appearances for the first time since 1998. He hasn't had fewer than 500 since his rookie season of 1997.
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Abreu is also keenly aware of where he ranks in the game's record books. He has a chance to be viewed as the best Venezuelan hitter of all-time. A decent season would put him in the top 20 on the all-time doubles list and his .397 career on-base percentage puts him in the top 70. He is 614 hits shy of 3,000.
A .293 lifetime hitter, Abreu batted .253 last year with career lows in home runs (eight) and RBIs (60).
"It's not like I'm looking to be traded," Abreu said. "I just come over to make things clear. I just want to play every day. Right now, in spring training, I don't want to create any distractions for my teammates, just get them ready for the season, that's it, and play the game. That's the one thing I really love to do and I'm going to do it."
The Angels tried to trade Abreu during the offseason and it was recently reported that a trade with the Yankees for A.J. Burnett was rejected by the pitcher, who later was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Abreu admits he was excited about the possibility of being traded back to the Yankees before that deal fell through.
"It didn't happen. I don't know what the reason was," Abreu said, "but it would have been an opportunity for me to just play every day over there as a DH. It would have been nice, too."
Abreu said that being traded depends on various factors, but that during his meeting with DiPoto and Scioscia it was never brought up, only how he would be used in 2012.
"No, no, we didn't talk about that, only about the at-bats and my situation. I'm here to do the job I know to do, play the game and see what happens. Sometimes you can't control things," Abreu said.
Enrique Rojas covers Major League Baseball for ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com. ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon contributed to this report.