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Abercrombie: "I can play at this level a long time"


Eddie Altamonte
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http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-spm...la-sports-front

 

Marlins' Abercrombie eager to take on a bigger role

 

By Juan C. Rodriguez

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

 

March 5, 2007

 

 

JUPITER -- Mike Jacobs proved he could hit for power. Hanley Ramirez established he could score runs. Dan Uggla showed he could knock them in.

 

Reggie Abercrombie demonstrated he could take one for the team.

 

Most of last season's rookies flourished in their learn-by-doing introduction to Major League Baseball. That approach didn't work for Abercrombie.

 

Prepared to sacrifice a season for the sake of player development, the Marlins eventually found that wasn't necessary. They recovered from an 11-31 start and became a wild-card contender. Then manager Joe Girardi determined the team had a better chance of staying one with someone else in center field.

 

Why not send Abercrombie to the minors at that point? The Marlins didn't have a better alternative at Triple-A Albuquerque. It also made no sense to burn an option year on a player that had the makings of a late bloomer.

 

Players on the 40-man roster have three option years during which they can be reassigned to the minors. Once he is out of options, a player must clear waivers before a team can reassign him.

 

However practical, that didn't facilitate Abercrombie's development. His three option years are in tact, but Abercrombie isn't much closer than he was this time last year to proving he's a starting big league outfielder.

 

"I'm not going to say if that was good or bad," Abercrombie said. "It was a wonderful thing to be in the big leagues the whole year. Working with Andre Dawson helped me a lot, seeing the atmosphere, watching the game and learning the game up there. But I would love to just get at-bats and play every day. You can't fight learning at that level. It was a learning experience and I hope later on in life it helps me."

 

What Dawson and some others in the organization believe was that Abercrombie required a playing experience. The "sabbaticals" Abercrombie took from the lineup, as Girardi described them, weren't devoid of value. He just might have been better served with more hands-on and less theoretical training.

 

"I would have much rather seen him play so he could find himself," Dawson said.

 

"He was kept in the big leagues probably to be developed at that level, but if you're not playing you're not really being developed. I won't go as far as to say it was a wasted year, but I would just like to see him play. That's how you're going to judge whether he's going to be able to stick at that level."

 

Abercrombie last season totaled 255 at-bats, 58.4 percent of which came in April and May. He had averaged 472 at-bats over the previous five minor-league seasons.

 

The Marlins eventually told Abercrombie he was staying put. That peace of mind didn't translate into production when Girardi did play him.

 

"It was hard because when you're up there and you're struggling, you're looking over your shoulder every day," Abercrombie said.

 

Added Dawson: "When you're a young ballplayer and if you're not playing, you want to know why. ... That was a huge factor because of the uncertainty. It's tough to play under those circumstances, not knowing what's going to happen from day to day."

 

Abercrombie, who turns 26 in July, acknowledges his day has to come soon. Teams give tools-rich players like him plenty of shots, but he realizes they don't get much better than this one.

 

He is one of three primary candidates along with Eric Reed and Alex Sanchez for the starting center-field job.

 

"To myself, I know I can play at this level for a long time," Abercrombie said. "You have to sit here and learn a lot of things, a lot of things you have to bounce back from."

 

Like how to get back up after taking one for the team.

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Guest Juanky

Purely speculation, but unless they really are playing the defense based on hitters in Spring Training (doubtful) I would assume he just wanted to give Reggie as little ground as possible to have to cover.

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Purely speculation, but unless they really are playing the defense based on hitters in Spring Training (doubtful) I would assume he just wanted to give Reggie as little ground as possible to have to cover.

that doesn't make much sense

 

as bad a fielder as he might be, Reggie can still cover alot of ground in a hurry

 

my guess is they were playing the wind

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Purely speculation, but unless they really are playing the defense based on hitters in Spring Training (doubtful) I would assume he just wanted to give Reggie as little ground as possible to have to cover.

that doesn't make much sense

 

as bad a fielder as he might be, Reggie can still cover alot of ground in a hurry

 

my guess is they were playing the wind

The wind was blowing straight in. When I said "playing in", I wasn't talking about shallow. I was talking about away from the foul line. I'm dead serious, Willingham was standing next to Reggie. If he were playing in left and not left center, it would have saved at least one run, possibly two.

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Guest Juanky

Purely speculation, but unless they really are playing the defense based on hitters in Spring Training (doubtful) I would assume he just wanted to give Reggie as little ground as possible to have to cover.

that doesn't make much sense

 

as bad a fielder as he might be, Reggie can still cover alot of ground in a hurry

 

my guess is they were playing the windI would agree with you, but the wind was blowing in and Reggie had just finished dropping an easy fly ball a play or two earlier.

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Purely speculation, but unless they really are playing the defense based on hitters in Spring Training (doubtful) I would assume he just wanted to give Reggie as little ground as possible to have to cover.

that doesn't make much sense

 

as bad a fielder as he might be, Reggie can still cover alot of ground in a hurry

 

my guess is they were playing the wind

The wind was blowing straight in. When I said "playing in", I wasn't talking about shallow. I was talking about away from the foul line. I'm dead serious, Willingham was standing next to Reggie. If he were playing in left and not left center, it would have saved at least one run, possibly two.

I knew what you meant... I heard the wind, while blowing in, was also swirling out there

 

oh well, probably muchado about nothing

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He misplayed another fly ball today, but he did have an OF assist.

 

And he continues to be terrible at the plate.

 

He lost one in the sun (that's not a misplay), tossed a guy out going to 3rd, and went 2 for 3 at the plate with a run scored and no Ks. What exactly does he have to do to not be "terrible at the plate"???? He is one of the very few that have actually been getting hits this ST.

Let's take a peek at some of the favorites. Miggy- .091 and let's not forget the errors, Amazega- .182, Willingham- .222, Jacobs- .000, Ross- .200, and here is the guy that is "still doing terrible at the plate" hitting a paltry .429.

Kicking a player when he is down is one thing. Making things up to bash him is totally different.

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wrong.

 

anyway, you seem to hate the fact that Junior "trolls" these threads about him loving Reggie, I think it's time you do the same and just ignore the threads as well.

Wrong.

 

I have hours and hours of videotape evidence to justify my point. Junior provides no justification other than some superficial man crush.

 

Let's be fair here, please.

Fine, but add something to the discussion. The last 25 or so posts involving Reggie all talk about how much you want him off the team or how Beinfest and Co failed or something to that extent. We get it.

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I really don't have a problem with the "Reggie Cult". It's all in good fun and what's wrong with rooting for a guy who is 2 years away from being a complete bust. He seems like a nice enough guy.

 

Its clear Reggie has an abundance of tools. You just wonder if any of the tools are actually plugged into an outlet.

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wrong.

 

anyway, you seem to hate the fact that Junior "trolls" these threads about him loving Reggie, I think it's time you do the same and just ignore the threads as well.

Wrong.

 

I have hours and hours of videotape evidence to justify my point. Junior provides no justification other than some superficial man crush.

 

Let's be fair here, please.

The last 25 or so posts involving Reggie all talk about how much you want him off the team or how Beinfest and Co failed or something to that extent.

Really?

 

And I find it interesting that you are quick to accuse me of such while you defend both your own and Junior's blind love (that offers no positive contribution to baseball discussion, mind you) of the player who has been nothing but a headache to this organization. It sounds to me that part of the reason the Marlins didn't get the CF we all expected them to simply because they think that Reggie Abercrombie will develop into a solid major leaguer. That scares me to death.

 

Maybe I was wrong all of those months and Beinfest was actually crazier than Girardi.

It's not blind love. I know for a fact that Reggie is working out with hitting coaches as well as fielding at the crack of dawn and busting his ass to try and make the team and improve off a very bad year. Sorry if I am rooting for a guy who just wants to get better. Yea his rookie year was bad. So what? He has all the tools in the world, and maybe he never realizes his true potential, but I am rooting for him. The fact he is one of the first to start practicing and one of the last to leave tells me something about his character. You don't think he knows how close he is to being out of baseball? You think he is just sitting on his ass all day collecting his paycheck? No. He is trying his hardest to improve and help this team. Add something to the discussion besides "he's been a headache to this team", because the fact is he hasn't. A headache to this organization was Jeff Allison. The front office is enamored with him. He's been a headache to you and a whole lot of fans(and Roger Clemens). So yea, Beinfest is off his rocker in this case, but they think he can have an improved season, and so do I.

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