Abreu coming back to Yanks

Abreu coming back to Yanks

NEW YORK -- Bobby Abreu received his wish on Friday, as the Yankees triggered a $16 million contract option to keep the outfielder in pinstripes for another season.

The 33-year-old Abreu offered the Yankees a consistent presence batting in front of Alex Rodriguez in 2007, occupying the No. 3 spot in the order for most of the season. A left-handed batter, Abreu logged a career-high 123 runs scored in his first full season in pinstripes, ranking second in the American League.

"Bobby Abreu possesses a unique skill set and has proven to be a durable and reliable asset to this club," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. "Consistency has been a hallmark throughout his career, and we are excited to work with him again as we look forward to the 2008 season."

New York had until midnight on Friday to exercise the option or offer Abreu a $2 million buyout.

Acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a July 2006 six-player transaction, Abreu said numerous times that he enjoyed the more relaxed personal atmosphere he experienced in New York. Abreu's agent, Peter Greenberg, said that Cashman recently reached out to Abreu to confirm his interest in continuing as a Yankee.

"Bobby said, 'Without a doubt,'" Greenberg said. "He loved it here and wanted to come back. He's very excited and looking forward to next year."

Greenberg said that the Yankees' recent parting with Joe Torre, and hiring of Joe Girardi, had not altered his eagerness to return.

"Bobby's very even-keeled," Greenberg said. "He can't control what goes on and it doesn't really concern him. He obviously liked Joe Torre very, very much, and Joe Torre was a calming influence for him -- he stayed with him and had a lot of confidence in him. Bobby stays on the sidelines, but he wanted to be back."

With the Phillies, Abreu was often looked to as the key cog in the lineup, whereas in New York he was able to meld in and just be one in a sequence of established offensive players.

Abreu batted .283 with 16 home runs and 101 RBIs in 158 games for the Yankees in 2007, mostly handling right field while batting in six different spots in the lineup.

Rebounding from a strained oblique muscle that slowed him in Spring Training, Abreu came on hot around midseason, batting .305 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs after the All-Star break. He finished stroking 40 doubles and five triples while stealing 25 bases -- the ninth consecutive season that Abreu has stolen 20 or more bases.

"He knows what he has to do," Greenberg said. "He'll come in ready and wants to help the team win next year. He wants to have a full good year next year and avoid the slow first half. He's working hard with a personal trainer and is going to be in real good shape. He's excited."

A career .300 hitter, Abreu broke into the Major Leagues in 1996 with the Houston Astros and was traded from the Devil Rays to the Phillies after the 1997 season for shortstop Kevin Stocker after Tampa Bay selected him in the expansion draft. This represented the final year of a five-year, $64 million contract Abreu originally signed with Philadelphia.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.