Abreu settles into designated hitter role

Abreu settles into designated hitter role

TEMPE, Ariz. -- While the focus on Monday was primarily on Vernon Wells' debut as the Angels' new left fielder, with Peter Bourjos in center and Torii Hunter in right, another transition was getting under way: Bobby Abreu as a designated hitter. He was in the No. 2 spot in the order, between Maicer Izturis and Hunter, in his spring debut as the DH against the A's.

This is something new for Abreu, one of the game's most productive offensive forces for 15 years with a record-tying stretch of 13 consecutive seasons having played at least 150 games.

"We talked about it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said when asked about Abreu's willingness to make the switch. "If we asked Bobby Abreu to catch, he'd say all right. This guy wants to win. He's ready for anything. This guy wants to help us be as good as we can be."

Primarily a right fielder his entire career, from Houston to Philadelphia to New York to Anaheim, Abreu will be the primary DH and a backup corner outfielder, spelling Wells and Hunter. That is based on the assumption Bourjos claims the center-field job with a solid spring.

"Definitely he has to be kept in touch with the outfield," Scioscia said when asked about Abreu's new role. "Bobby's ability to play corner outfield is something we will use to keep Vernon and Torii sharp. Also, if we want a little more of an offensive lineup, we'll have to try out some things."

Scioscia believes the Angels will have a "great" outfield if it's Abreu, Wells and Hunter, left to right, upgrading to "incredible" if it's Wells, Bourjos and Hunter, as anticipated.