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Gary Matthews Jr.'s knee -- and state of mind -- appear OK

February 16, 2009 | 10:15 am

Gary Matthews Jr. TEMPE, Ariz. -- Gary Matthews Jr. reported to camp this morning feeling very good about his surgically repaired left knee. It appears no follow-up procedure will be required to remove a possible chip on the outfielder's shoulder.

The Angels signed veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu to a one-year, $5-million deal on Thursday, a move that will greatly cut into Matthews' playing time.

Matthews, who hopes to be ready for the start of the regular season, would have entered 2009 as the team's fourth outfielder, splitting his time among all three outfield spots and designated hitter. With Abreu, Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter and Juan Rivera on the roster, it now appears Matthews will be relegated to the role of fifth outfielder.

But when asked if he was disappointed by the Angels' acquisition of Abreu, Matthews took the high road, saying: "Let's concentrate on positive things right now. Let's talk about my knee and let the other things work themselves out."

As for the knee, Matthews seems about a month ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery to repair his patella tendon. He has been running for a month, hitting for longer than that and will be able to participate in a number of drills during the team's first full-squad workout Tuesday.

"I won't be doing explosive takeoffs, but I'm going to take fly balls, hit, do as much as I can do," Matthews said. "There have been no setbacks. The knee has responded well."

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Gary Matthews Jr. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

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