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Abreu’s lack of power is not a concern

The Angels did not expect Bobby Abreu to hit 35 home runs this season. Though he averaged 22 homers over the last nine years, Abreu played his home games in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium and Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. He also turned 35 in March, an age when power usually tends to tail off.

But the Angels did expect more power than Abreu has supplied so far, which is none.

Abreu has a .302 average, .397 on-base percentage and 12 runs batted in but no homers in 116 at-bats. Of his 34 hits, 30 are singles, not the kind of power you’d expect out of a No. 3 hitter.

“I’ve been hitting the ball good -- I’m just not elevating,” said Abreu, who hasn’t homered since Sept. 24, 2008.

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“I’m the same. I’m concentrating on hitting the ball hard. It’s not a problem. I don’t want to make it a concern. It’s going to happen.”

Manager Mike Scioscia is surprised by Abreu’s power drought but has not considered moving Abreu, who was slowed in early May by a sore lower back, out of the third spot.

“He’s swinging the bat great and squaring some balls up, and his back is OK,” Scioscia said. “He’s going to drive the ball and be a threat every time he steps in the box. Sometimes they come in streaks.

“Hopefully he’ll get that first one and will get rolling.”

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Loux to bullpen

With Ervin Santana returning to the rotation today and John Lackey returning Saturday, Shane Loux, who went 2-2 with a 4.64 earned-run average in six starts while the team’s top two pitchers were on the disabled list, was moved to the bullpen Wednesday.

The right-hander will probably remain there for at least a week or two, providing long relief until Santana and Lackey build up enough stamina to throw 100-110 pitches in a game.

“I’m not blind -- the goal of the team was to get those guys back, and I’ve understood where I stand from day one,” Loux, 29, said. “I’m excited to go to the bullpen.

“When you go from starting to relief, you can raise your intensity and try to strike out more guys. You don’t have to hold anything back for later in the game. It’s a whole different mind-set. I’ve done it in the past, and if that’s my role here, I’m looking forward to it.”

Relief effort

The Angels, looking to bolster a bullpen that began Wednesday with a 2-9 record, a major league-worst 6.90 ERA and five blown saves, are close to signing veteran reliever Rudy Seanez to a minor league contract.

Seanez, a 40-year-old right-hander, last pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, going 5-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 42 games.

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If he signs with the Angels, he would probably be sent to the team’s extended spring training camp in Arizona before joining triple-A Salt Lake.

Short hops

Gary Matthews Jr. was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup because of tightness in his lower back. He was replaced in right field and in the No. 2 spot by Reggie Willits. . . . The Angels optioned reliever Rafael Rodriguez to triple-A Salt Lake and activated Santana.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


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