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Category: Peter Bourjos

Peter Bourjos to rejoin Angels on Saturday

Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos, on the disabled list since July 8, will be activated before Saturday's game with the Baltimore Orioles, Manager Mike Scioscia said Friday.

Bourjos, who was sidelined with right hamstring tightness, ran the bases during pregame drills Friday and said he felt good.

"I was going 100%," he said. "Everything went well."

Bourjos hit .386 in the 19 games before he went on the disabled list, and is hitting .272 on the season.

-- Kevin Baxter in Baltimore

Peter Bourjos runs Angels into comeback win over Twins

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Peter Bourjos led off the ninth inning with a triple and scored on Maicer Izturis' line-drive single, capping a furious comeback that lifted the Angels to a 6-5 victory over the Twins at Target Field.

Bourjos, who also made three splendid defensive plays in center field, started the game-winning rally with a line drive that one-hopped to the wall in left-center. And though Delmon Young played the carom cleanly, the speedy Bourjos outran the ball, turning what should have been a double at best into his league-leading sixth triple of the season. Izturis then followed with his first hit of the game, putting the Angels in front for the first time on the night.

Bourjos and Izturis keyed the Angels' five-run, eighth-inning rally as well, with Bourjos leading off with a single and Izturis walking. The Twins answered by calling left-hander Dusty Hughes in from the bullpen, and Erick Aybar greeted him by driving his first pitch into the left-field bleachers for a three-run home run. With that one hit, the Angels matched their scoring total from their previous 37 innings on the road -- but they weren't done.

Bobby Abreu followed with a single, and Hunter doubled, putting the tying runs in scoring position with no outs. Alberto Callaspo got one run in with an infield single, bringing up the newly acquired Russell Branyan, who lofted a two-strike pitch to left field to score Hunter and tie the score.

That wiped out a brilliant performance by Twins right-hander Scott Baker, who held the Angels to six hits in seven scoreless innings. The Twins' batters, meanwhile, were proving rude hosts to Angels starter Tyler Chatwood.

Denard Span led off the game with a walk, moved to second on an error and then scored on Alexi Casilla's double to left-center that just eluded a diving Bourjos after a long run.

Minnesota doubled its lead in the third when Jason Kubel singled to right to score Casilla, who had tripled. Kubel drove in two more runs to make it 4-0 in the fifth -- and the Twins would have had another in the sixth, but Bourjos reached into the Angels' bullpen in left-center to rob Jim Thome of his 594th career home run.

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Angels make quick work of Red Sox, 11-0

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The Angels made sure there would be no need for extra innings Thursday, jumping on the Red Sox and former teammate John Lackey early and often in an 11-0 win over Boston, the most one-sided shutout win at Fenway Park in franchise history.

The Angels scored three times in the second, third and fourth innings to drive Lackey from the mound, then added two more runs in the seventh on a Bobby Abreu double.

Abreu finished with three runs batted in and Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo and Mark Trumbo had two RBIs each with Trumbo's coming on a line-drive home run into the seats above the left-field wall, his second homer of the four-game series and his sixth of the year. That leaves him on pace to join Tim Salmon as the only Angels to hit 30 homers in his rookie season.

The Angels' 18 hits -- including a season-high four from Erick Aybar and three from Peter Bourjos, who was also hit by a pitch and scored a career-high four runs -- marked the sixth time in 32 games the Angels had collected at least 15 hits in a game. They did that just 10 times all of last season.

Every Angel starter had at least one hit, with Kendrick joining Bourjos with three hits and Abreu and Callaspo finishing with two apiece.

Right-hander Joel Pineiro, making just his second start of the season, pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits, to get the win, his first of the season. Relievers Rich Thompson and Francisco Rodriguez finished up the shutout.

ALSO:

Tired Angels back at it again in Boston

Scioscia shakes up Angels' batting order

-- Kevin Baxter in Boston

Photo: Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis grimaces and loses grip on the ball while covering second base as Los Angeles Angels' Peter Bourjos goes hard into the bag. Credit: Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Angels' Peter Bourjos no longer a one-dimensional threat

When the Angels traded for Gold Glove centerfielder Vernon Wells two months ago, Peter Bourjos figured he was on his way back to the minors. Because while the team loved Bourjos' defense -- so much so, they moved Torii Hunter, another Gold Glove centerfielder, to right field to make room for Bourjos -- the 23-year-old rookie had hit just .204 in 51 big-league games. Then he followed that up with an equally anemic winter, hitting .207 in 24 games in the Dominican league.

Wells, on the other hand, is a .280 lifetime hitter coming off the third 30-homer season of his career.

But the Angels remain committed to speedy Bourjos, who will be flanked by Wells in left and Hunter in right on opening day, giving the team potentially one of the best defensive outfields in recent memory. Still, Bourjos concedes he'll also have to contribute offensively if the experiment is to succeed.

"As long as you’re getting on base and you’re having productive at-bats -- whether it’s moving guys, getting guys in and getting on base and scoring runs -- that’s all part of it," he said. "Obviously you want to hit and have a good batting average. But I think if your outs are productive outs, moving runners, I think that can also be a benefit."

Bourjos has hit this spring, batting .320 in 25 at-bats. But he's also scored seven times, driven in five runs and stole two bases. Plus he's bunting a lot more, a skill that will open up holes in the infield and make him more difficult to defend against.

"I want to make sure that third baseman’s in and the first baseman’s in. And if they don’t come in, hopefully I’m able to lay a good bunt down and get a hit out of it," said Bourjos, a .293 career hitter in five minor league seasons. "I want to be successful at getting on base and scoring runs and stealing bases at a high rate. And then getting in scoring position for the guys to drive me in."

But even outs, the 23-year-old Bourjos has learned, can be productive.

"If you have a good at-bat, a long at-bat, a battle and you get them to throw seven, eight pitches, you wear them down a little bit and maybe he leaves a pitch over for the next guy," he said.

Which is why statistical metrics, such as batting average or on-base percentage, won't be the only thing the Angels will use to judge Bourjos' contribution, Manager Mike Scioscia said.

"If we’re seeing good swings, we’re seeing him hit the ball hard, we’re seeing some of the situational at-bats, we’re seeing him work counts, we’re seeing him contribute offensively, hopefully that’s going to carry over into the season and we’ll see the same thing," he said.

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.

 

Angels draw a crowd in center field

Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter have spent nearly their entire careers in center field, combining to win 12 Gold Glove awards. So it wasn't really a surprise that when the two ran onto the field together for the first time Monday, they wound up in center field again, flanking Peter Bourjos.

"I turned around and I was like, 'Hey, what's going on?' " said Bourjos, who was listed on the lineup card as the center fielder.

The two veterans told him they weren't ready to give up their position, so Bourjos volunteered to move to right before his teammates told him they were only joking.  That outfield alignment probably won't be funny to Angels opponents this season.

 '"For us, as a group, our job is make our pitchers happy," Wells said. "Any ball goes in the air, any ball that goes in the gap, it’s  a matter of not letting balls get to the wall. Cutting balls off as much as we can. Just keeping baserunners from taking extra bases.

"If we can do that –- which we’re very capable of doing –- we’re going to take a lot of pressure off our pitching staff."

Said Joel Pineiro, Monday's starting pitcher: "Having that speed out there, it's like having three center fielders."

But for Wells, who spent his entire 12-year big-league career in Toronto before being traded to the Angels this winter, there is still one more hurdle to clear.

"Once the season comes, I hope I don’t run to the wrong dugout," he said. "I probably will."

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.

Peter Bourjos stays busy in center field, as Angels beat Mariners, 5-3

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In addition to his leadoff home run in the sixth inning, which sparked a four-run rally that helped the Angels to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners in Safeco Field Monday night, Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos was in the middle of two key defensive plays.

With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Seattle center fielder Franklin Gutierrez doubled off the left-field wall, a ball that Angels left fielder Bobby Abreu leaped for but couldn't catch.

The ball caromed off the wall and back toward the infield, but Bourjos provided excellent back-side help, chased the ball down and threw a one-hop bullet to third to nail Gutierrez, who was trying to stretch the hit into a triple. The play helped preserve a scoreless tie.

With Casey Kotchman at first in the ninth, Gutierrez hit a sinking liner to center that Bourjos appeared to have a bead on as he ran in and to his left. But the ball nicked off his glove and rolled to the warning track.

Bourjos, who now has seven outfield assists in one month in the big leagues after two on Monday, chased the ball down and overthrew cut-off man Howie Kendrick, the ball ticking off his glove and dribbling to shortstop Erick Aybar, who was backing up Kendrick. Kotchman held at third, but Gutierrez, thinking Kotchman had scored, raced around second and headed to third before stopping and heading back to second.

Juan Rivera, who only started playing first base last week, hustled from his cut-off position in the middle of the infield to second base and caught Aybar's throw just as Gutierrez got back to the bag. Rivera applied the tag for the first out of the inning.

"I just whiffed it," said Bourjos, who was surprised to learn that Gutierrez's liner, originally scored a two-base error, was changed to a double. "I thought it had backspin, and it sank like a knuckleball."

Though Kotchman scored on a wild pitch, closer Fernando Rodney got Michael Adams and Adam Moore to fly out, ending the game.

"Good heads-up play to get an out," Manager Mike Scioscia said of the Gutierrez play. "Juan made a really good read and got back to second base. It was a great reaction on his part."

--Mike DiGiovanna in Seattle

Photo: Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos running the bases against the Twins last week in Minnesota. Credit: Craig Lassig / EPA

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