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Bobby Abreu brought up to be veteran bat off the bench

Bobby Abreu looks on during batting practice before

Bobby Abreu looks on during batting practice before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field on Monday, April 21, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Bobby Abreu completed a quest that began last July.

The 40-year-old had resolved to make it back to the big leagues for the first time since 2012. On Monday, shortly after slipping on a Mets uniform, Abreu said he was able to "enjoy this moment again."

"I'm happy to be back in the big leagues," said Abreu, who will be used as a bat off the bench and as an occasional rightfielder.

Long known for his discipline at the plate, Abreu brings a .292 career average and .396 on-base percentage to his sixth major-league team, including the Yankees, in parts of 17 seasons.

"He's a professional hitter," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We're looking for somebody that can come off the bench and give us a professional at-bat."

The Mets expressed interest during the offseason but Abreu signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies. After they released him late in spring training, the Mets jumped at the chance to sign him.

Abreu played winter ball in Venezuela under hitting coach Dave Hudgens, who suggested the signing to the Mets.

"He fits right into our approach," Hudgens said. "He doesn't go out of the strike zone very often. He tries to have a quality at-bat. I thought he'd be good off the bench. He's so experienced."

Abreu was hitting .395 with a homer and nine RBIs in 15 games with Triple-A Las Vegas. He had an April 30 out clause in his contract.

Extra bases

Terry Collins intends to stick with shortstop Ruben Tejada, who is hitting .204 after going 1-for-3 Monday night. Though he's struggling at the plate, Tejada made a pair of sparkling defensive plays . . . To make room for Abreu, the Mets optioned Andrew Brown to Triple-A Las Vegas . . . With Kyle Farnsworth in the closer's role, the Mets won't use a dedicated setup man in the eighth.

With Stephen Haynes

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