NEW YORK -- The scouting report from hitting coach Dave Hudgens, who managed Bobby Abreu in Caracas of the Venezuelan Winter League, was brief. Abreu, as Hudgens later told manager Terry Collins, simply delivered "one quality at-bat after another."
Because Abreu continued doing so over his first 15 games at Triple-A Las Vegas, batting .395 with five extra-base hits and a 1.068 OPS, he earned a quick callup to the Mets. He officially joined the team on Monday, bumping outfielder Andrew Brown back down to Vegas.
"Bobby certainly brings that quality Major League bat [where] the other manager's got to say, 'I don't want him up there,'" Collins said of Abreu, who signed a Minor League deal with the Mets earlier this month. "He's been an outstanding hitter in his career, so we wanted to get him up here."
That does not mean Abreu will play often, but it does mean he will serve as the primary left-handed pinch-hitter, starting every so often in the outfield to remain sharp.
"He's another guy that certainly fits the mold, the approach that we like to have here -- a guy who's willing to work the count, get a good ball to hit," Collins said. "He can be a dangerous bat for us."
The Mets already have a primary right-handed pinch-hitter in Josh Satin, and they like Kirk Nieuwenhuis' versatility in the outfield, so they chose to demote Brown instead of Nieuwenhuis. The move balances their bench, giving them three left-handed hitters and two righties.
It also gives them the services of Abreu, a career .292 hitter who starred for the Phillies early last decade. Though his skills have diminished in recent years, he spent significant time over the winter improving his mechanics and plate approach in an effort to return to the Majors at age 40.
"My swing is quick right now, especially with the balls inside," Abreu said. "Playing winter ball helped me a lot, just to get back on track. I was working hard over there and I was playing pretty much every day, to show and prove that at least I could have another opportunity. That's what I have right now."