Bourjos excited to show health; concedes starting job to Jay - KMOV.com

Bourjos excited to show health; concedes starting job to Jay

JUPITER, Fla. (BaseballSTL) -- 2014 was not the year Peter Bourjos expected to have.  He came into spring training as the favorite to start in center field but never got on track at the plate.  The former Angel hit just .170 in April and ultimately lost the confidence of his manager, Mike Matheny.

Only sporadic at-bats were available after that.  When the year was up, Bourjos was left looking at a .231 batting average in just 264 ABs.  Not exactly what the Cards had in mind.  

In what amounted to a pretty large surprise, though, the Cardinals announced after the season Bourjos needed surgery to repair a hip impingement.  And, talking to him today, he says it's been an issue for quite a while.

"This is something that's bothered me for at least five or six years," Bourjos said. "I've always in the back of my mind known it was there.  Throughout the day it took me a while just to get (the hip) loose and ready for the game.  Just to be able to not have that thought is going to be nice.

"It's nice to be awake in the morning and know there's not going to be any pain.  I don't have to get it loose just to get going in the morning.  It's a relief.  I'm just excited to be healthy for the first time in a while," Bourjos said.

The Cardinals are certainly excited, too.  The center fielder is widely considered one of the best - if not the best - in the game defensively and his speed should get him 20-25 stolen bases if he could get on base enough to have those opportunities.

Getting those at-bats this time around may be tough, however.  Jon Jay took advantage of Bourjos' limited playing time last year and had a terrific season with a .303 batting average and a .372 on-base percentage.  Those numbers jumped to .483 and .571, respectively, in the postseason.

GM John Mozeliak declared Jay the starting center fielder during the offseason.  His two-year contract worth nearly $11 million dollars essentially cemented that statement.  So it's not like Bourjos is planning on coming in here and starting everyday - at least not to start the season.

"I don't think it's really a competition," Bourjos said. "(Jay) earned his playing time last year.  He had an unbelievable year and he's going to be the center fielder.  I just want to help the team win in any way I can." 

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