Abreu's role in Mets' lineup expanding

Abreu's role in Mets' lineup expanding

PHILADELPHIA -- When the Mets signed 40-year-old Bobby Abreu to a Minor League contract earlier this season, they envisioned him contributing as a pinch-hitter off the bench, or maybe even just as Minor League depth.

They certainly did not see him starting five games in the outfield over a six-day span, including Saturday's matinee against the Phillies. But Abreu's hot streak, combined with Chris Young's cold snap, made that an easy decision for manager Terry Collins. Abreu was scheduled to be in the starting lineup even before the Mets scratched Juan Lagares with muscle spasms.

"He is exactly what everybody said," Collins said of Abreu. "He is a professional hitter. He adjusts at the plate, he works the counts, he looks for something that he wants to hit. That's what the real good hitters do.

"You've got to be careful of overusing him, because the legs are going to get tired faster than anything else. I'm very cognizant [if he plays] a couple days in a row, maybe let him have a couple days. You've got to be careful not to wear him down."

Abreu came into the game batting .467 with three doubles, two walks and four RBIs in his most recent four starts. Compare that to Young, who is batting .141 with a .528 OPS since May 6, and who made a critical defensive error in the 14th inning of Friday's loss.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.