Peter Bourjos gets crash course in playing Fenway Park's outfield
Angels youngster Peter Bourjos spent early batting practice Tuesday getting a crash course in playing center field in Fenway Park, a daunting task for those who have not grappled with the quirky dimensions of the 98-year-old home of the Boston Red Sox.
There is the 37-foot-high Green Monster that goes from the foul line in left field to deep left-center and the "Bermuda Triangle" that juts 420 feet into the right-center field gap. In straightaway center, there are two garage doors on the wall that are not padded.
Bourjos, the 23-year-old speedster, has been looking forward to his first game in Fenway since his Aug. 3 callup from triple-A Salt Lake, and if he takes the advice of the man he replaced in center field, nine-time Gold Glove Award winner Torii Hunter, he will play it safe.
"It's easy because you just don't run into the wall," Hunter said. "Let it play off the wall, and back up."
As he cased the joint Tuesday, Bourjos immediately noticed all the different angles of the wall.
"It just looks like a big wall on TV, but you can see how different parts of the wall are going to shoot the ball differently," Bourjos said. "I talked to Ron [Roenicke, Angels bench coach] and he said you can't be too aggressive up against the wall. If you get caught in between, it will carom off the wall and be a triple or inside-the-park home run."
When venturing into deep right-center, Roenicke told Bourjos he should "take your eye off the ball and see where you are," he said. "You have to look around, because this is not a wall you want to go into hard."
Hunter did in 2005, breaking his left ankle when he crashed into the wall that separates right-center field from the bullpen. Hunter missed the final eight weeks of the season because of the injury.
"The only thing that is really tough is that 420-foot corner in right-center," Hunter said. "You want to get to the ball, but at the same time, you want to stay on the field. That's how I broke my ankle. I thought I was Superman, that I could get to anything, and that wall got me. The wall won."
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Boston