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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Tony Abreu never became the middle infield presence the Giants envisioned, and this tells you what kind of spring he was having:
Even though Marco Scutaro has played all of two innings because of a bad back, the Giants still placed Abreu on release waivers Sunday. When he clears, the club will be responsible for paying just a quarter of his $745,000 salary.
Cutting Abreu is all but confirmation that Ehire Adrianza, another switch hitter and a proficient defender, will be on the opening-day roster. Infielder Brandon Hicks, a non-roster invitee, also would be positioned to make the club if Scutaro begins the year on the disabled list, as anticipated.
Hicks ranks third in the Cactus League with a .432 average, second with a .532 on-base percentage and fourth with an .865 slugging percentage. Of his 16 hits, 10 have gone for extra bases.
Hicks, a 28-year-old Houston native, broke in with Atlanta and last saw big league action in 2012 when he played in 22 games for the A’s. He’s a high strikeout guy who mostly works at second and third, but also has seen 30 innings at shortstop this spring.
Abreu, 29, was a former top prospect with the Dodgers but had trouble staying healthy and couldn’t make the club out of spring last year because of a chronic knee condition. He ended up appearing in 53 games for the Giants last year, hitting .268/.301/.442 with two homers and 12 doubles in 138 at-bats.
Abreu was hitting .179 without an extra-base hit in 39 at-bats. He struck out six times and didn’t draw a walk.