Extra Hitting Duty for Cards’ Peter Bourjos

Off to a slow spring with the bat, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Peter Bourjos had six at-bats in a minor league game Thursday morning.

As soon as I arrived at the minor league fields for the St. Louis Cardinals 10:00 a.m. intersquad games on Thursday, I spied an unusual presence on the back fields of the Jupiter complex. Major league assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller was watching the Memphis-Springfield game.

It did not take me long to figure out why.

Peter Bourjos had ridden over to the Kissell Quad in a golf cart with Mueller. The outfielder batted only, leading off every half-inning for both clubs for the first three innings. Opposing pitchers were lefty Tyler Lyons and righty Thomas Lee, Memphis’ and Springfield’s respective starters, giving him a look from both sides of the plate.

I saw five of Bourjos’ six plate appearances, which went fly out, fly out, strikeout, E6, fly out. In the one case in which he reached base, Bourjos hit a hard liner that the shortstop could not handle. He moved up to third, but after a one-hopper to the first baseman, Bourjos was caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out. In his final at-bat, the 27-year-old (he turns 28 in five days) hit a ball deep into the corner that was chased down by the right fielder.

Perhaps the extra work helped a bit, as Bourjos had a single in his first at-bat in a post-rain delay appearance in St. Louis’ game in the afternoon. He went 1-for-2, raising his official spring average to .097.

Post-game, Bourjos spent time in the trainer’s room in what is essentially a half-body compression sleeve. After a long day of playing baseball and in recognition of his off-season hip surgery, Bourjos either has the compression treatment or takes a dip in the cold tub on those occasions for maintenance purposes.

In the following audio interview, exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation, an upbeat Bourjos discusses what he acknowledges what is “probably his worst spring ever,” his busy Thursday, what he had hoped to accomplish in his minor league at-bats and more.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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