TEMPE, Ariz. — If the Los Angeles Angels don’t have a position for Bobby Abreu as an everyday player, then they must trade him somewhere else before the start of the season, Abreu told ESPNdeportesLosAngeles.com on Tuesday.
“I’m an everyday player. I can still be in the lineup for a major league team,” said Abreu from his native Venezuela. “I will not be on the bench knowing that I can play.
“If the Angels don’t have a position for me, then the best thing is to trade me. It would be the correct (thing) to do. I won’t be able to do nothing sitting in the bench.”
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Mark Saxon on Tuesday that he didn’t “have a whole lot of reaction” to Abreu’s comments.
“It’s not something Bobby approached me about,” Dipoto said. “It’s not something he’s driven through (manager) Mike Scioscia. At this point, it’s a conversation between Bobby and a third party.”
He added: “I have spoken to Bobby and his agent, Peter Greenberg. Mike (Scioscia) has talked to Bobby. It’s not a foregone conclusion he’s going to be on the bench. Let’s talk about the issue of Bobby as a bench player if, at the end of camp, Bobby’s on the bench. I would be surprised if there’s a player at the professional level who doesn’t want to play.”
Abreu, 37, has been considered a complete player in his career. But last season he was pulled from the outfield and used almost exclusively as a designated hitter by Scioscia.
Sunday, after spring training opened for Angels catchers and pitchers in Tempe, Scioscia said that Kendrys Morales would be the DH and cleanup hitter and that Mark Trumbo could also have some time in that spot.
The Angeles tried to trade the Venezuelan-born player during the offseason. Most recently, some reports said the Angels tried to send Abreu to the New York Yankees for A.J. Burnett, but that didn’t happen when the right-handed pitcher vetoed the trade that would have sent him to the West Coast.
Scioscia said on Monday that he talked to Abreu last month to discuss his role on the team.
“I talked to Bobby, and he told me he wants to play every day, but he understands the potential in this team to win and he understands the situation,” said Scioscia.
Said Abreu: “Yes, I spoke to Scioscia, but the conversation had nothing to do about me being a bench player. He told me I will start one day in left field, another in right and another as a designated hitter.”
“We are on the same page in the sense that we both want the team to compete and go far into the playoffs, but we never reached an agreement in respect to me becoming a bench player,” he added.
Scioscia said Wednesday that he wouldn’t expect anything different from a player of Abreu’s caliber to want to play every day.
“We’re in a situation now where we have a deep offensive lineup, we have a lot of guys fighting for at-bats,” Scioscia told Jalen Rose and Mark Willard on 710 ESPN. “We need Bobby’s input to our club, we need the presence he can bring, we need him to contribute or perform well when he gets the chance to play. How many games it’s going to be remains to be seen right now, but I … don’t see that as an issue.
“If it comes time when his playing time isn’t satisfactory to what he wants to do, I’m sure that his agent’s going to have a conversation with our general manager, Jerry Dipoto, and see if there can be some kind of understanding, but I’m hoping that the overwhelming opportunity for Bobby to reach his goal of getting to the playoffs and hopefully getting to the World Series is going to be something that will keep him wanting to contribute to our club.”
Abreu, who will earn $9 million in the coming season, has a career batting average of .293 with 284 home runs, 393 steals and 1,325 RBIs in sixteen seasons with Houston, Philadelphia, the Yankees and the Angels.
Last season he batted .253 with eight home runs, 21 stolen bases and 60 RBIs.
Abreu said he will fly into the Phoenix area on Saturday and report to the Angels training camp for a physical on Sunday. His first practice with the team will be on Monday.
“I want to play, and I believe I can help this team. But if there is no spot for me, then I would prefer to play somewhere different,” said the left-handed hitter and two time All-Star.
Enrique Rojas is a reporter for ESPNdeportesLosAngeles.com. Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Mark Saxon was used in this report.
Angels’ Abreu: Play me every day or trade me
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