(Jupiter, FL) The morning began with Peter Bourjos hitting a lead-off double for the St. Louis Cardinals in their B-game against the Miami Marlins. After two more at-bats, he grabbed his gear and headed over to the main field for nine innings in center field and a single and stolen base in four more at-bats.
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“I’ll take as many at-bats as they’re going to give me,” said Bourjos on his double-header. “For me, I’m trying to figure out the timing of it. It’s kind of a new feeling for me. I just want to get as many as I can under my belt and I have fun playing too, so that’s another thing. I love going out there and playing this game.”
It was the first time the 27-year old could not remember another time he was able to play such a full schedule on the day, but he wouldn’t mind it continuing.
“As long as they want me, I’m more than willing to go out there and play–whatever capacity it is. Hopefully, when the minor league games start jumping get some at-bats over there too and just try and continue to get as many as I can throughout spring.”
The quest for at-bats is in part the result of Bourjos having surgery during the off-season to relieve a hip impingement. That pushed back his normal off-season schedule as he did not begin hitting until after the Winter Warm-Up. That gave him about three weeks to prepare instead of hitting as much as possible the entire off-season.
“It’s more the timing of the game,” furthered Bourjos on wanting more live action, not just swings. “I get a lot of swings in the cage in the morning and what not. It’s just the timing of the pitcher. The rhythm and getting your foot down and sitting there, being able to trust that. Today, the line drive I hit up the middle, I was able to relax. I sat there on my front side and saw it and hit it deep as opposed to where I rush and usually catch it out front and pull it.”
Mike Matheny described Bourjos as having a new swing, which the outfielder agreed with.
“I’m using my back side now and I’m hitting into my front side where before I couldn’t use my back side and my front side was gone. It’s different, but it’s the way I should be hitting. It gives you a lot more time up there to see the ball, adjust, and react.”
It’s a technique that worked for Bourjos a couple of seasons ago–before the hip impingement changed things.
“I think I’ve slowly gotten away from it just because as my hip progressively got worse, I could do less and less with it,” explained Bourjos. “It clamped down to the point where I really couldn’t rotate on it. Back in 2010, in Salt Lake, that was my best year when I really felt like I was doing this. I remember I had so much time–I was driving the ball the other way. I was hitting balls up the middle like I did today and yesterday off Waino where as the years have gone on since that year, this has gotten worse and I’ve gotten away from that just probably because I couldn’t really rotate on it.”
Bourjos hit .314 in that 2010 season with an OPS of .861.
“I think the wind was blowing out–that’s what he was telling me,” added Bourjos about his liner off the wall against Wainwright in the pitching practice session.
–Following the game on Friday, Matheny confirmed that Tommy Pham had suffered a mild strained quad but was unsure of a timetable for the outfielder’s return to play.