Abreu providing veteran leadership

Abreu providing veteran leadership

Abreu providing veteran leadership
LOS ANGELES -- Expected to be a fourth outfielder when signed at the beginning of May, 38-year-old Bobby Abreu has proved to be a valuable mentor for the younger players on the Dodgers roster while filling in the past few weeks.

Abreu has hit .327 with seven RBIs, six extra-base hits and 11 runs in 21 games since joining the Dodgers on May 4. The outfielder was released by the Angels on April 30 after hitting .208 to start the season.

"His name came up when we saw he got released," manager Don Mattingly said. "It couldn't have been better timing for us. He kind of stepped in and all of a sudden we lose a few guys and Bobby has been playing a lot more than we really anticipated."

He wasn't in the lineup Sunday against the Astros, but he was called upon with the bases loaded in the seventh and drew a walk against lefty Xavier Cedeno to extend the Dodgers' lead to 3-1.

"That at-bat yesterday was really kind of amazing," Mattingly said. "You don't get to see many guys get a guy they have never seen before and get down 0-2 and end up walking. He was calm the whole time."

Abreu's patience, which has led to 12 walks already since joining the Dodgers, has his younger teammates taking notice.

Mattingly, who also coached Abreu with the Yankees, said many players -- on his team and others -- talk hitting with Abreu often, as well as take the time to watch the two-time All-Star take batting practice.