PHILADELPHIA -- Bobby Abreu was recruited by the Mets this past offseason after playing winter ball in Venezuela for the Dave Hudgens-managed Caracas Lions.
Abreu instead elected to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he had played for nine seasons, through 2006. The Phillies then cut Abreu late in spring training and he ended up with the Mets anyway.
New York Mets
Now, the 40-year-old Abreu has performed so well at the plate that Terry Collins suggested Saturday he owed it to the pitchers to keep the veteran in the lineup as much as possible.
Abreu is hitting .304 with a home run, seven RBIs and a .389 on-base percentage through 54 plate appearances. He is starting in right field for the second straight game Saturday, and for the fifth time in seven games.
Still, Collins said, he needs to be careful not to overtax Abreu at his age. Two straight games is probably the limit for Abreu starting, according to the manager.
"You've got to be careful of overusing him, because the legs are going to get tired fast -- faster than anything else," Collins said.
Collins, though, said he owes it to the young pitchers, including Saturday starter Jacob deGrom, to make sure they have the best offensive lineup supporting them. And that means Abreu. DeGrom has joined Ron Darling as the other pitchers in franchise history to begin their major league careers with three straight quality starts and no wins to their credit.
"Especially when you have these young kids on the mound that have great stuff, you want to give them something to work with so they're not living on the edge so much," Collins said.