Show up for a Triple-A baseball game and you never know who you might see.
Bobby Abreu, a two-time All-Star who has slammed 286 major league home runs, played in his first minor league game in 15 years Tuesday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Hitting third for the Albuquerque Isotopes, Abreu, 38, remains hopeful the Los Angeles Dodgers might make him part of their playoff plans.
“They just want me to come here and get some at-bats, some playing time,” Abreu said. “We'll have to wait and see what happens.”
Abreu was designated for assignment Aug. 1 and cleared waivers after hitting .251 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 70 games for the Dodgers. He started the season with the Angels, who released him in late April.
The deadline for being on a major league roster to be eligible for the playoffs is Friday night at midnight.
The Dodgers' decision might come down to Abreu or utility infielder Adam Kennedy, whose role has diminished after they added Nick Punto in a blockbuster trade last weekend with Boston.
“This year has been kind of up and down, a little bit crazy,” Abreu said. “You have to concentrate, stay focused, stay positive and anything can happen. You don't give up. You just keep pushing.”
Abreu went 1-for-3 with a walk in the Isotopes' 6-5 loss to RedHawks. Tuesday's game was his first in nearly a month after being hampered by a sprained ankle.
“I'm trying to work the count, have a good approach at the plate, work my legs and have some good at-bats,” Abreu said. “I need to see some pitches, see different pitchers and everything will be all right.”
Ironically, the last time Abreu played in Oklahoma City it was 15 years to the day of the final game played at All Sports Stadium (Aug. 28, 1997).
That off-season Tampa Bay selected Abreu in the expansion draft and traded him to Philadelphia where he
Abreu began his 15-year major league career with Philadelphia.
“It's kind of weird to be on the same field with the same goal,” said former OSU quarterback Josh Fields, Albuquerque's third baseman. “Like the rest of us, he's playing to get back to the majors. He wants to help the Dodgers in the playoffs.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has said Abreu could be a left-handed bat off the bench when rosters expand in September, but it's uncertain whether L.A. might add him to the 40-man roster by Friday night's playoff deadline.
Abreu has played with the Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Angels and Dodgers. He's been in the playoffs four times, but never a World Series.
A career .282 hitter with 1,347 RBIs, Abreu and Willie Mays are the only players to play in at least 150 games for 13 consecutive seasons. Cal Ripken Jr. doesn't make the list because of the strike shortened season in 1994.
“He's in a different part of his career,” Fields said. “It's cool for the fans in Oklahoma City to see a guy like him. And it's kind of cool for us, too. You could sit around and listen to a guy like that talk all day long, listen to their stories because they've got good ones.”
Albuquerque right-hander John Ely flirted with a no-hitter before everything unraveled in the seventh inning, when the RedHawks sent 10 hitters to the plate to erupt for five runs and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Matt Downs tied it with a three-run home run. Matt Dominguez put OKC up 5-3 with a two-run shot. After the Isotopes tied it with two runs in the eighth, the RedHawks took the lead in the bottom of the inning.
Brad Snyder drew a leadoff walk in the eighth, advanced to third on Downs' single and scored on J.D. Martinez's sacrifice fly to help the RedHawks claw to within 3 1/2 games of the division-leading Isotopes.
OKC has six games remaining, all at home. The RedHawks host Albuquerque Wednesday night and Thursday night and close out the regular season with a four-game series against Round Rock.