Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Since the very moment the words were spoken to me, I have always remembered them. The confidence of Jose Rijo in his voice said it all: "The Man can pitch, I am telling you," Rijo stated. "Not many people are aware of his talents. Winston Abreu is going to surprise some people. I just love his stuff."
So today when Chad Cordero was placed on the Bereavement List by Our Washington Nationals, I was not surprised by that move. "The Chief" needs to get away, tend to his own. It's only right.
But, at the same time, I was not stunned to hear the name Winston Abreu recalled from AAA Columbus. During Spring Training Special Assistant to The General Manger, Jose Rijo, personally told me that Winston would be the surprise of Spring Camp-2007. Consistently, during the 15 minutes we chatted that late February day, Jose kept bringing up one name-Winston Abreu. The one time Braves, Padres, Cubs, Yankees and Baltimore Orioles prospect had bounced around for 12 Professional Seasons, finally making it to The Majors last season for The Orioles. Abreu's short stint with Baltimore was unflattering.
Rijo went on to tell me that Winston may well get caught up in the numbers game, that always occurs each and every Spring Training. But, he flat out stated, he loved Abreu, his talent, his work ethic and quality of person he personally saw in Our Now New Reliever. This past Spring, Winston pitched in just three games, giving up one unearned run, before being assigned to Columbus. For The Clippers, Winston pitched 18 total innings over 10 games, allowing just one run, earning one save and toting an ERA of 0.50.
Those statements by Jose Rijo (pictured above with Saul Rivera) always stayed in the back of my mind, wondering how this might play out. Jose Rijo was just so POSITIVE, SURE. Today, Rijo's prediction has come true. Winston Abreu is a member of Our Washington Nationals.
Personally, I am very intrigued by 30 Year Old Abreu--all due to a few statements by Our General Manager Jim Bowden's most trusted confidant. Sometimes a player needs a lucky break to turn his career around. Winston Abreu's time is now upon us.