This story has two parts – nine months apart. First, let’s go back to the end of last May, via Michael Geffner:
Now, just seven weeks into a new season in which Abreu had the bad timing to be as God-awful as the rest of his team, you hear all the ugly talk again — but with different twists.
This time, he’s overweight and playing passive and old.
And this time, the stuff was so far behind his back he didn’t even know about it.
“Overweight?” a clearly stunned Abreu said when I brought this to his attention before yesterday’s game against the Red Sox. “You mean, in spring training?”
“No, now,” I said.
“Wow. Overweight. Wow,” he said softly, as if to himself.
And with that, he pulled up his navy blue T-shirt and exposed his stomach.
He doesn’t have a six pack, but the guy is no jelly belly, either.
He slapped his stomach twice, and then pinched a piece of it between thumb and forefinger.
He smiled, giggled. “Hey, listen, I don’t know who said that,” he said. “But, look at me, I’m fine. I’m 209. It sounds like someone is looking too hard for reasons why I didn’t get off to a good start.”
It’s fair and accurate to say that Abreu’s start this season has been a level beyond bad. Mostly, he’s looked downright pathetic — hopelessly out of synch and twitchy.
Now, let’s see what Kat O’Brien had to share today:
Bobby Abreu was overweight and not ready for spring training camp last year, he told Newsday Thursday.
“I knew I was in bad shape last year,” Abreu said.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman recently commented about Abreu’s being out of shape at the start of last year’s spring training. He didn’t need Abreu or anyone else to point out the obvious.
Abreu suffered a rib-cage muscle injury early in camp last year, and he said it could have been related to his not being in shape.
“I don’t want to make excuses for myself [about why],” said Abreu, 33. “I was in bad shape. I knew for sure that I needed to be in better shape this spring.”
Abreu, who said he weighs 215 pounds now, estimated he weighed 226 when he reached camp last February. It’s obvious that he has slimmed down just by looking at him.
Whether because of the injury or his poor offseason conditioning, Abreu’s numbers were particularly low in the first half last year.
So, last season, in May, Abreu said that he was not out of shape and it “sound[ed] like someone [was] looking too hard for reasons why [he] didn’t get off to a good start.” And, now, nine months later, looking back, Abreu is saying “I knew I was in bad shape last year.”
Since Abreu’s condition hurt the Yankees last season, it’s nice to see that he’s at least willing, now, to admit the reason and try and do something about it.