Angels’ Peter Bourjos finds his stroke, but Mike Scioscia prefers to keep him at bottom of order
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Peter Bourjos has been the Angels’ hottest hitter for two weeks, but even with leadoff batter Maicer Izturis sidelined by a hamstring injury, Manager Mike Scioscia has resisted the temptation to move the speedy centerfielder to the top of the order on a regular basis.
Bourjos, who is batting .318 with two home runs, four triples, five doubles and nine runs batted in on the season, has led off five times but has hit eighth the past two games. He has hit ninth 14 times.
Bourjos also has only three months of big-league experience, and Scioscia doesn’t want to overburden the 24-year-old with the demands of the leadoff spot.
Plus, Bourjos is not among the Angels’ most patient hitters, averaging only 3.67 pitches per plate appearance through Wednesday.
Erick Aybar led off Wednesday for the third time in four games. Izturis, who is batting .333 with a .379 on-base percentage and eight runs, should be ready to start again Friday when the team opens a three-game series in Tampa Bay. Scioscia will insert the switch-hitter back into the leadoff spot.
“Peter has the potential to hit first or second, but there’s a lot more going on in the one-two spots than the eight-nine spots,” Scioscia said. “It’s something I think Peter will grow into, but we have some pretty good options with Aybar and Izturis.”
Bourjos tied a club record, last achieved by Aybar in 2009, with two triples in Tuesday night’s 8-3 win over the A’s. One was to the gap in right-center, and one was to left-center. Neither required a slide into third base.
Scioscia, the former Dodgers catcher, could not recall the last time he saw a player hit two stand-up triples in a game.
Asked if he ever hit a stand-up triple, Scioscia, never known for his foot speed, said, “I had one in Philadelphia. [Former Phillies center fielder] Garry Maddox twisted his ankle in the gap, and the third baseman had to go out and get the ball.”
-- Mike DiGiovanna