Bobby Abreu was back Sunday. It didn’t feel like he never left.
Abreu has the same locker stall in the clubhouse, but a new number (12) and a new role — no more being penciled in to the first, third or fifth slot in the batting order, which he’s done in 40 of his 54 starts this season. Heck, the 38-year-old outfielder probably won’t start a game with Shane Victorino, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera all ahead of him on the outfield depth chart.
Now, Abreu becomes “another guy off the bench that has been around, is going to be comfortable up there, knows what he’s doing,” manager Don Mattingly said.
To make room for Abreu on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers creatively recalled Chris Withrow from Double-A Chattanooga and placed him on the 60-day disabled list. Withrow hasn’t pitched since Aug. 17.
Abreu batted .353 in five games for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes after he was designated for assignment Aug. 1. It was his first minor-league assignment since 1997, when he was a 23-year-old prospect in the Houston Astros’ system.
A sprained ankle kept Abreu off the field for nearly a month, but he went 1-for-3 with a walk in his Triple-A debut Aug. 28. Of his six hits for the Isotopes, five were singles.
Although Abreu started strong with the Dodgers, batting .326/.444/.461 in his first 33 games after being claimed off waivers from the Angels in May, he batted .178/.267/.222 in 37 games from June 12 to July 31.
Abreu gives the Dodgers two potential switch-hitting pinch hitters off the bench, along with infielder Nick Punto. Like most Dodgers this season, Abreu is much better against left-handers (.267/.340/.378) than righties (.241/.349/.329).
Justin Sellers began the season as #12. Don Mattingly wore it for a day to accommodate Shane Victorino, who wanted #8, before switching to #88.