Peter Bourjos rides the bench again for Angels
MINNEAPOLIS — Peter Bourjos’ game-changing speed and Gold Glove-caliber defense don’t do the Angels any good on the bench, but that’s where those tools were again Wednesday night.
The center fielder was not in the lineup for the ninth time in 11 games, his playing time greatly reduced by the April 27 promotion of Mike Trout from triple A, but his attitude remaining upbeat and optimistic.
“It will all work out one way or another,” said Bourjos, who is batting .192 with a .259 on-base percentage. “I think I’m too good of a player for it not to. When you’re not winning games, things have to change. I got off to a slow start, so they went in another direction.”
The Angels seem committed to giving an extended look to Trout, who plays center field and left field. And they have opted to play left fielder Vernon Wells, who began Wednesday’s game with a .240 average, four home runs and eight runs batted in, far more than Bourjos.
Manager Mike Scioscia has maintained that Bourjos, who hit .271 with 12 homers, 11 triples and 26 doubles last season, “will bring a presence to this team,” but Bourjos’ primary role lately has been to pinch-run.
“If they ask me to run in the eighth inning, I have to be ready,” Bourjos said. “If you sit back and pout like a baby, it’s just going to snowball. I’m going to keep working in the cage, stay positive and not dwell on not being in the lineup.”
Dan Haren has not missed a start because of injury in 10 big league seasons, and he is confident that the lower-back stiffness he experienced in Tuesday night’s 5-0 loss to Minnesota will not keep him from making his next scheduled start, against Oakland in Angel Stadium on Monday night.
“I had back issues last year, and this is not as bad as it was then,” said Haren, who had trouble “finishing” his pitches in a 32/3-inning, five-run, eight-hit outing. “But it took two weeks for it to go away completely.”
Haren said having an extra day between starts — the Angels are off Thursday — should help him get enough rest, treatment and exercise to be physically ready to pitch Monday.
“It’s not too bad walking around and doing everyday stuff, but when you take it to the next level, when you’re going 100% off the mound, it won’t let me get extended,” Haren said. “I have to do stuff to lengthen my back and get loose.”
One good thing came out of Tuesday night’s loss: David Pauley, called up from triple A on Monday, threw four scoreless innings behind Haren. It was the longest stint by a reliever making his Angels debut since T.R. Bryden threw four innings at Seattle on April 10, 1986.
“He showed a good breaking ball, changeup and sinker,” Scioscia said. “It was very impressive, not only the length but the quality of the length.”
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