The Los Angeles Dodgers are off to a sizzling start, and what do they do? They sign our old friend Bobby Abreu.

Now, most Philadelphians would call that a bad idea, and then cheer that it was the Dodgers and not the Phillies who signed a retread who's lousy in the outfield and a locker room cancer to boot.

But not the folks in Los Angeles. Consider manager Don Mattingly, a guy who should know better. He was all enthusiastic about the signing. You can even say gung-ho.

"Bobby's a guy, obviously, who's been a great hitter his whole career, and kind of makes us, we feel like, incrementally a little bit better," said Donnie Baseball, who was on the Yankees' coaching staff when Abreu played in New York.

Abreu made his first appearance as a Dodger in Wrigley Field on Friday against the Cubs. How did that work out?

Not so well. In the seventh inning, with one run in and runners at the corners, Abreu batted for starter Chad Billingsley and struck out looking. In the top of the ninth, Abreu made the last out on a fly ball to left.

Now for the particulars: The 38-year-old Abreu had been passing time since late last week, when the Los Angeles Angels decided they could do without a guy who's hitting .208. In his defense, he was doing better than Albert Pujols, who's at .202.

The Dodgers will pay Abreu $401,311. The Angels will pick up the rest of this year's $9 million salary.

That's some baseball

The baseball that rolled through the legs of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series sold at auction Friday in Dallas for a stunning $418,250.

The ball, the centerpiece of an auction featuring the collection of Los Angeles songwriter Seth Swirsky, has a peculiar provenance.

After Buckner's error in Game 6 allowed the New York Mets to rally with two outs in the 10th inning, setting in motion another Red Sox collapse, an umpire gave the ball to Mets executive Arthur Richman.

Charlie Sheen bought it for more than $93,000 in 1992, and Swirsky purchased it for nearly $64,000 in 2000.

Heritage Auctions says the buyer - who paid more than 61/2 times what it fetched a dozen years ago - wants to remain anonymous. Can't blame him.

Young back in

Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young - who was suspended for seven days after he was charged with yelling anti-Semitic epithets during a late-night tussle at a New York hotel - has been reinstated. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Young would likely not be in the lineup Friday against the White Sox but would be available for pinch-hitting.

Contact Francisco Delgado at fdelgado@phillynews.com.
Inquirer wire services contributed to this report.