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Astros' José Abreu taking advantage of extra at-bats in spring

Houston Chronicle 3/16/2023 Matt Young, Staff writer
© Jeff Roberson, Associated Press

JUPITER, Fla. — José Abreu has made it known he'd like to get plenty of at-bats with his new team in the spring. Dusty Baker obliged him by letting him go to the plate four times and be the only starter to play the whole game in a 3-0 win over the Cardinals on Thursday.

Abreu looked plenty comfortable hitting in the cleanup spot behind Alex Bregman, going 3-for-4, including a home run and double off Jack Flaherty, who figures to be in the middle of the Cardinals' starting rotation.

"This is the best he's looked, and I was hoping the four at-bats would help him as opposed to getting just two or three and coming out," Baker said.

Abreu, who was in the designated hitter spot instead of his usual first base, has the most at-bats of anyone in camp, hitting .286 (8-for-28) so far with a .940 OPS.

With opening day looming in a couple weeks, Baker says he plans to let more of his regulars get at least four at-bats in games, including Bregman in Friday's outing against the Nationals.

"You've got to have a couple guys in the middle of the order who are swinging it well who can jump-start you at the beginning of the season," Baker said.

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