Angels learning a lot from Abreu
Izturis, others picking veteran outfieler's brain for tips
NEW YORK -- It would be a stretch to call Bobby Abreu the Angels' new Venezuelan godfather -- but not that much of a stretch.
With his cool, soothing manner and totally professional style on the field, Abreu has become a magnet for teammates, and not just those of Latino heritage.
"Everybody here talks to him, watches him, learns from Bobby every day," Maicer Izturis, a fellow Venezuelan, said as persistent rain forced the postponement of Sunday's series finale between the Angels and Yankees.
The Halos, having taken one of three games from the Yankees, have a date with the Athletics in Oakland on Monday night. Abreu, who suffered tightness in his lower back running the bases on Friday night, is expected to be back in the outfield against the A's.
"The extra day will probably allow him to play the outfield tomorrow," manager Mike Scioscia said.
Abreu had played every game until Saturday.
On the flight back to the West Coast, Abreu will have no trouble finding conversation. He is engaged at all times, whether it's discussing the finer things of life with Kelvim Escobar, hitting secrets with the eager likes of Mike Napoli, Torii Hunter or Chone Figgins, or sharing baserunning techniques with Figgins, his new partner in thievery.
Abreu is hitting .356 with a .424 on-base percentage and is 11-for-11 in steals. Even in his absence on Saturday, his influence was apparent in the patient, disciplined approach his teammates took to at-bats against CC Sabathia.
The Yankees' celebrated ace couldn't make it through the seventh inning after Hunter laced his 119th pitch for a two-run double to left, bringing a less than stellar Bronx bullpen into play.
"I think every [hitter] on the team has learned from Bobby, from watching his at-bats, not just in games, but in batting practice," said Izturis. "He's such a smart player. We watch Bobby's approach, being so disciplined, and it puts something in your mind.
"I ask him questions all the time, every day. He knows every situation there is in a game. When he gets behind in the count, he doesn't change. He makes sure he waits for a good pitch, something he can handle. He has more discipline at the plate than anybody."
Izturis' ability to make adjustments was evident in Friday night's 10-9 loss during a three-run seventh inning that gave the Angels a six-run lead.
Pinch-hitting for Robb Quinlan against Jose Veras with two on and none out, Izturis fell behind 0-2 in the count and began fouling off pitches that were too close to take, a half-dozen of them. Finally he found something to his liking and sent it into right field for an RBI single.
"I like hitting second because I can do a lot of things there -- move runners over, bunt, look at pitches so Chone can run," Izturis said. "It also helps me watching Figgy hit, because guys usually try to pitch me the same way."
Izturis was scheduled to start at shortstop Sunday with Erick Aybar recovering from a blow to the face from a ball thrown by catcher Mike Napoli on Saturday. It caromed off the helmet of Derek Jeter, sliding head-first into second, squarely into Aybar's face.
Although X-rays were negative, Aybar needed sutures to his upper lip and was "a little sore, a little banged up."
The Angels are 5-12 with Aybar starting at shortstop, 5-1 with Izturis.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.