Last year at the Winter Warm-Up, Peter Bourjos set forth a goal of 40 stolen bases–provided he received enough at-bats. Those at-bats (264) proved to be a challenge in 2014, in particular the second half of the season, and he finished with only nine swipes. As a result, the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder has a different set of goals for the upcoming season.
“I just want to be healthy,” stated Bourjos. “That’s it. Everything feeling good and helping the team win and whatever happens after that.”
Bourjos underwent surgery the end of October to address a hip impingement and just received clearance to begin swinging the bat on January 16th.
“I feel really good,” he said. “I’ve been running–I just got off the gravity treadmill, which de-weights you, and I got up to 100% two or three days ago and I’ve ran back to back days and it feels good. That’s something that would’ve bugged me last winter–probably the last five winters. Just running on the treadmill would’ve got me achy and sore. I haven’t had anything so I think progressively, just try and get up to sprinting in the next month.”
The condition with his hip was not new–it actually began bothering the outfielder five years ago.
“It was something that when I was in Anaheim it would be kind of monitored just to make sure it wasn’t getting progressively getting worse,” shared Bourjos, who added that do to his wrist injury and surgery in 2013 it didn’t flare up as much.
“We didn’t get it checked on and I didn’t play a whole lot because I was hurt most of the year so it felt okay,” said Bourjos. “Last year, as the year was going on, I was having more trouble just getting out of bed and walking after games and in the middle of the night it’d pretty sore and laying in bed it was achy. We finally got an MRI–I think it was in September. It just showed that it progressively was getting worse and not heading in the right direction.”
Playing in the games wasn’t the main issue. Motion exercises with the training staff and inflammatories allowed him to play.
“It affected me more I think on a recovery basis,” Bourjos explained. “There were some days that I felt okay and there were other days where I’d wake up and ‘oh man, it’s going to be just a struggle to get going today’…If I started a game and played all nine innings it’d be pretty sore, if I only came in for defense in the 9th, I was okay.”
Already regarded as the fastest player in the team, is there a higher gear awaiting a healthy Peter Bourjos?
“I don’t think I’ll be faster,” he laughed. “I just hope I feel better, that’s the main thing. Where I can walk around after games and not be in pain or get out of bed and not feel like I’ll fall over.”
Bourjos hit .231 for the season but .275 after July 1st.
“Obviously, I didn’t get off to a very good start,” he admitted. “That first, probably half of the year was pretty frustrating. I think the second half I played a little better–probably from maybe July 1st on I’d say I felt like I swung the bat a little bit better. That was obviously nice to make those strides and make some improvements and adjustments. So I think finishing out the year I felt better than I did starting it.”
Besides rehabbing, Bourjos also got married over the offseason and the couple is expecting their first child (Max) in April.
photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports