Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Bourjos, Abreu seek comfort zones
By Mark Saxon
LOS ANGELES -- For a while this spring, Peter Bourjos was working hard to be the everyday leadoff man the Angels hope he will one day be. It just wasn't working out.
In an effort to boost his on-base percentage, Bourjos was trying to get into deeper counts and taking pitches. It actually led to his most persistent bugaboo coming back: strikeouts. For a guy with blazing speed, not making contact is wasting your primary asset.
Bourjos is batting .305 this spring, but he also has struck out 17 times, easily the most on the team. His offensive surge last season came when he cut down his swing and reduced his strikeouts, from 79 before the All-Star break to 45 after it. Bourjos said the problem this spring hasn't been his swing, but his approach.
"I'm prone to strikeouts, so for me getting deeper in counts isn't really good for me," Bourjos said. "I need my at-bats to be more consistent, so I'm working on attacking the ball a little bit earlier."
Meanwhile, Bobby Abreu admitted the relentless speculation about his future has begun to wear on him. The Angels have twice -- at least -- engineered deals to move Abreu that fell through. He's left with virtually no role now that the outfield is set and Kendrys Morales is healthy again.
"This is totally, totally different from the last 15 spring trainings for me," Abreu said. "You don't know what's going to happen. You have to go out and get yourself ready, but the last 15 years I've known I was going to play right field every day. This year it's different. I'm fighting for a spot."