UPDATE: The Mets have signed Abreu to a minor league contract. He’ll report to Triple-A Las Vegas.
5:40 p.m. ET: The Phillies didn’t have any room for Bobby Abreu, but maybe someone else does?
Seems like any team — especially an NL team — would have a hard time finding room for Abreu. With teams routinely using 13-man pitching staffs, any bench players have to be versatile. And while Abreu may be a lot of things these days — he can still work a walk and hit a mistake — versatile is not one of them. Particularly not on defense.
Injury insurance maybe, if he’ll accept a Triple-A assignment. But not much more.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies informed Bobby Abreu he will not be on the Opening Day roster, ending his comeback attempt with the team he played for from 1998-2006.
Abreu hit .263 with 10 walks for a nifty .429 on-base percentage in 16 games this spring, showing that his eye at the plate remains outstanding even if most of his other skills have deteriorated.
He can’t really run, play defense, or hit for power anymore, but Abreu could still probably do a decent job as a pinch-hitter for another NL team. Of course, that’s a very limited role and he’s a 40-year-old who didn’t play in the majors at all last season, so this might be the end of the line.
Just the latest injury news from Philly:
A few weeks ago this would have seemed academic. But with other injuries, Abreu is/was still a pretty decent possibility for the Opening Day roster. But if he can’t even pretend to play the field, well, maybe not.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that Phillies outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf has been diagnosed with a Grade 1/2 left oblique strain and will be out four to six weeks as a result. Ruf suffered the injury taking a swing during batting practice.
Ruf was competing for a roster spot as a back-up outfielder and first baseman. However, he wasn’t having a great spring, slashing .217/.308/.391 in 46 Grapefruit League at-bats. There was a chance he was going to start the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley so that he could get regular playing time, but that is now an issue the Phillies won’t have to deal with until May, it appears. In Ruf’s absence, the Phillies could choose to add non-roster invitees Bobby Abreu and/or Tony Gwynn, Jr.
Ruf impressed in his first lengthy stint in the Majors last season, posting an .806 OPS with 14 home runs in 251 trips to the plate. Unfortunately, he is roadblocked at first base by Ryan Howard and in both outfield corners by Domonic Brown and Marlon Byrd.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports the latest bad news from Clearwater. This about Darin Ruf:
Ruf suffered a strained left oblique while taking batting practice before the Phillies’ split-squad game in Kissimmee on Thursday afternoon. He was scratched from the lineup and will be evaluated Friday.
As Salisbury notes, this could be a big blow to him making the roster out of spring training. Ruf Ruf is fighting for a bench outfielder/backup first base job with multiple candidates like Bobby Abreu, Tony Gwynn Jr. and John Mayberry Jr.