An injury plagued season in which Peter Bourjos spent more time on the disabled list than the active roster will end — fittingly, it seems — with surgery.
The Angels center fielder, one of the team's top hitters in April and June, will have a pin inserted in his broken right wrist, probably this week. Bourjos, who suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch in Houston on June 29, will be able to resume baseball activities in about two months.
“It's pretty frustrating,” Bourjos said before Saturday night's game against the Texas Rangers. “From the time I got hit, I knew surgery was a possibility. I was hoping to come back and finish strong.”
Instead, Bourjos has been a shadow of the player who hit .313 with a .370 on-base percentage before suffering a left-hamstring strain on April 29, and .370 with a .431 OBP in 18 June games before breaking a bone in the wrist. In 15 games since his Aug. 16 return, Bourjos hit .109 (five for 46).
“Checking a swing really bothered me, and I had a tough time staying on top of pitches,” Bourjos, 26, said. “I didn't feel strong. If I have to load up on pills to get it to be manageble to where I can put a swing on the ball that is somewhat comfortable, that's not good.”
General Manager Jerry Dipoto was so confident in the abilities of the speedy Bourjos, who is a Gold Glove-caliber defender, that he cleared a starting spot for him last winter by letting Torii Hunter leave as a free agent and, after signing outfielder Josh Hamilton, traded designated hitter Kendrys Morales to Seattle.
The injuries have diminished the trade value of Bourjos, once a hot commodity who could have been packaged in a deal for a good young starting pitcher. But could they also change how the organization views him and damage his chances of starting in 2014?
“I don't have any control over that — what's done is done — but it's not like I'm banged up with a bad knee that's achy,” Bourjos said. “I pulled a hamstring in an extra-inning game and got hit by a pitch. They're serious injuries that have been kind of fluky. I've shown that when I'm healthy, I'm able to play at this level.”
Some good fortune would help.
“I asked him, ‘Did you break a mirror or something? Did a black cat run across your path?'” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He's had such a tough run of bad luck here. He's such an oustanding kid and a terrific ballplayer. Hopefully he'll get it all together and do what he's capable of doing.”
Bourjos said his August struggles were related to timing and a lack of strength, but X-rays showed that the broken bone never healed.
“The last X-ray I had was identical to the first one taken when I got hurt,” Bourjos said. “It didn't get worse, but it didn't get better.”
When Bourjos first discussed surgery with doctors, he was expecting a procedure in which the broken bone is removed. But an MRI test showed that a ligament doctors thought was torn was actually 90% attached to the broken bone. So instead, a pin will be inserted to promote healing.
“They're concerned if they remove the bone it could destabilize the wrist and cause more problems,” Bourjos said. “They feel confident that, with this surgery, I'll be OK.”