Abreu is key for Yanks

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

NEW YORK -- This goes under the Only in New York category.

Two new additions to the Bronx Bombers arrived from the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium yesterday:

n Right fielder Bobby Abreu, signed through 2007 when he earns $15 million US, with the Yanks holding an option on 2008 when he receives $16 million or a $2 million buyout. He'll hit fifth and drive in runs.

n And right-hander Cory Lidle, the Yanks fifth starter, who earns $3.3 million and is a free-agent at the end of the season.

Who won newsmaker-of-the-day honours?

It was former Blue Jay, Lidle, by about 10 lengths. Lidle starts tomorrow and will try to be on his best behaviour against the Jays.

Lidle knocked the Phillies for not caring about winning. Phillies reliever Arthur Rhodes shot back that Lidle's workout schedule consisted of eating ice cream and gambling and reminded everyone "he is a scab."

A replacement player with the Milwaukee Brewers in the spring of 1995, Lidle was in back-stepping, full damage control mode yesterday.

"When I got that phone call I had just gotten home," said Lidle who admitted he was sweating bullets. "I wasn't going to answer because it said 'unknown caller.' I saw the clock -- time for the conference call.

"So it was hello, then everything was going real fast. The way that I said it probably sounded a lot different than what I feel."

It was moving too fast? Lidle, in his ninth year in the majors, may have trouble handling the pace in a city where people close the door on a microwave, push 60 seconds and scream "hurry hurry."

"Questions were coming fast, what it sounded like was that the minute I walked into the Phillies clubhouse on any given day we weren't ready to play," Lidle said. "In the interview, we were talking about the trade deadline. The past couple weeks, almost half the guys on that team weren't expecting to be in that clubhouse much longer. So you could see the focus wasn't always on baseball."

With the Jays, Lidle was the type who e-mailed us saying he didn't like a headline on a column we wrote. We figured he had more to worry about than a headline.

Lidle got a text mail from a Philadelphia writer that asked "what are you thinking?"

"I asked 'what does it say?' He told me and I said 'whoa!' And I said, if I said that, it's not what I meant."

Lidle was quoted as telling New York reporters on the conference call: "I'm the kind of player who goes to the field every day expecting to win. Over the past few years, I haven't had a clubhouse expecting to win with me. On days I was pitching, it was almost a coin flip whether guys behind me were going to play 100%.

"Other guys in that clubhouse didn't all go out there with one goal in mind. Everyone liked to win, but they didn't expect to win. I think that being with 24 other guys that come into the clubhouse every day and expect to win will raise my level of play."

Earlier this season Lidle ripped Barry Bonds, saying his home-run record was not legit before the San Francisco Giants came to Philly, prompting one scout to say: "Imagine a scab knocking a guy with 713 home runs?"

"If you know me, I never make waves, but it seems like that is what has been happening," Lidle said. "This team here, I know is filled with positive thinkers. I'm a positive thinker and already they might think I might bring some negativity here. But I'm not going to do that and they will get to know that very quickly. I am very non-confrontational. I want to go with the flow."

Lidle will face rookie Shaun Marcum tomorrow.

What would Lidle say to Phillies players if he could?

"I don't want to say that the words I said were twisted and make it sound like the New York media did this, because I believe that my quotes probably sounded worse than how I feel.

"I want to apologize to my ex-Phillies teammates about what my quotes sounded like, hopefully they can remember me as the kind of person I was. I don't want to leave that situation with any bitterness."

Lidle said he wasn't hurt "but surprised," at Rhodes' comments ... "we got along great, played golf and cards," Lidle said.

Scouts say Abreu has the same approach as Jason Giambi at the plate: He takes lots of pitches, likes the ball away and pitchers can elevate the ball on him and get him out.

No matter what Lidle does or says, this will be known as the Abreu trade.

The one that brings the American League East title to the Bronx. Again.


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