"He got a little bit of a late jump," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Keeping it front of him would be ideal."
For an American League team like Detroit, which scored 796 runs on its way to last season's World Series and once carried Delmon Young for a full season, Abreu's creaky approach in the field might be an acceptable price for the remaining life some scouts have seen in his bat this spring. But for a team that scored 610 runs last season and has trained this spring to value a run the way Charlie Manuel once valued crooked-number innings, Abreu's misplay was the baseball equivalent of falling on his own sword.
And so, more than an hour after yesterday's game, the Phillies announced that Abreu would not make their Opening Day roster, apparently avoiding an $800,000 guaranteed contract had they kept him past Sunday. However, Abreu told a reporter before he left that he would be back at the Phillies' spring-training complex today. Sans the guarantee, apparently.
"Bobby Abreu is still with the Phillies organization and he is currently weighing his options," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
With Kevin Frandsen opting out of his $900,000 deal and signing with Washington yesterday, the Phillies have saved just under $2 million but are out at least one, and possibly two projected bench players.
Frandsen's move to Washington seemed to surprise the Phillies. The Phillies, who had recently extended the time to evaluate Abreu from yesterday until Sunday, seemed to surprise Abreu.
Shortly after the game ended, Sandberg was asked if his team could afford to have a person on the bench not unlike Matt Stairs in 2009 and Jim Thome in the first half of 2012, used strictly for pinch-hitting purposes.
"That's what we have to determine, what kind of bench we want and how we want to utilize it," Sandberg said. "A lot of times if you have a guy who can play some defense and get four at-bats, to stay sharp and give a guy a day off, that's a necessity. But as far as the bench, it's still to be determined."
Abreu went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Justin Verlander and the Tigers yesterday. He is hitting .244 with a .404 OBP, three extra-base hits, 10 walks and six strikeouts in 17 games this spring.
- Ryan Lawrence and Sam Donnellon