“I’d like to be in the 40’s. It’s all about how often you get on base. How you swing the bat. In the minor leagues, I stole 50 bags. It would be nice to be in that range.”
Bourjos is gracious, smiling and looks genuinely excited to playing in Busch Stadium. When he first saw it in December, it was covered in snow but he still thought it was beautiful, especially coming from a guy who grew up in Arizona and played the last few years in Los Angeles.
Bourjos jumped at the chance to play for St. Louis and his ex-teammate Albert Pujols told him how great the city was. “He told me the fans understand the game(here in St. Louis) and that they will root for each side. They know how the game of baseball is supposed to be play.” Bourjos said Pujols couldn’t speak higher of St. Louis.
The Cardinals had just competed in the World Series so Bourjos was excited to come into the ballclub. “Just to have the opportunity to come here and prove what I can do. I didn’t think I was going back to Anaheim.”
Expectations for this coming season? “Matheny told me to come here ready to play and to compete. He didn’t tell me that I was the starting center fielder. I just want to help the team win.”
Bourjos is a gap to gap hitter and doesn’t see himself as a guy who walks a lot. “I don’t think it’s good for me to go up there trying to walk. I’ll try to drive the ball in the gap and be aggressive.” But he sees his new league and team changing that stance. “In Anaheim I was hitting behind Mike Trout so they didn’t even think about walking me. Now I may be hitting in front of the pitcher so that will change.”
Health wise, Bourjos feels great, which is different from previous winters. “This winter I wasn’t to pick up a bat until December but my wrist feels good and I can’t wait to get to spring training.”
I can’t wait to see this guy play center field. Comparing him to a former Card who wore #15 and made some unbelievable plays is unfair, but it’s going to be exciting to have a defensive specialist out patrolling the grounds. With a new outfield taking shape, having a gap to gap guy like Bourjos will help smooth over the transition.
Playing behind a superb pitching staff helps. “There won’t be a lot of balls to run down because the staff is so good. Sometimes it can be boring. But boring is good because that means the pitchers are doing their job.”
Peter Bourjos added something to this team. Outfield defense and speed on the bases. A couple of things sorely missing from previous teams.
*Come back for more insight into the 2014 Winter Warmup and stay updated with instant pics and analysis on my twitter account, @buffa82.