Chone Figgins, who signed a four-year free-agent deal with Seattle, was convinced he'd left the leadoff job in good hands -- in part because of the presence of Abreu and his impact on Aybar and Izturis."Bobby's always talking to guys, making them better," Figgins said recently. "He'll be there to remind Aybar and Izzy what they need to do. I learned a lot from Bobby last year, and I'm sure those guys will take advantage of what he has to show them." Aybar never stops listening to the knowledgeable Venezuelan. "Bobby is the best," Aybar said. "He helped me a lot last year. I admire Bobby Abreu. He's not only a great hitter, but he's a great person. "He's a simple man, a humble man. He shows you what is important. I'm always watching him to see how he does things on the field." Abreu moved quickly after the 2009 season to sign a two-year contract with an option for 2012, maintaining he's never been happier than he was after signing his one-year free-agent deal with the Angels. "I really appreciate the way they appreciate the things I do," Abreu said. "They give me respect, and I respect them. "Chemistry to me is very important. We play together, stay together." One tip Abreu emphasized to Figgins, and carries to Aybar and Izturis, is that it's not a good idea as a leadoff man to slip into a pattern of taking first pitches in every at-bat to try to draw out the count. "If it's a first-pitch fastball he can hack, he should take a good swing," Abreu said, referring to Aybar. "You don't want to take away a guy's aggression, but you want him to control it. If the pitch isn't there, he takes it and then starts working the count." Abreu has spent most of his career hitting third, and with good reason. He has driven in at least 100 runs in seven consecutive seasons. While Abreu is the second hitter in the early lineup drafts, he could return to the third spot if manager Mike Scioscia elects to use Izturis, Aybar or Howard Kendrick -- a contact hitter who drives the ball to right and right-center -- as his No. 2 hitter. "I have no problem hitting second," Abreu said. "I hit the same way, basically, no matter where I am. I like how our lineup sets up. We've got speed and power with the first three hitters, and then we have power all the way down through the lineup. "This lineup can hurt you. I think we're going to score a lot of runs. I have a lot of confidence in these guys. "When we get out on the field, it's like we own the field. The confidence we have is that high."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less