Michael Bourn on rehab assignment: "I want to be healthy"
AKRON, OH -- Amidst the Tribe's chase for the playoffs in the final stretch of the season, one of its regular starters is on rehab assignment down I-77 in Akron. Michael Bourn was assigned to the RubberDucks on Tuesday night where he spent five innings in center field. This is his second time with the Double-A club this season.
Bourn led off and went 0-for-3 in his first action since July 5th. He struck out and flew out twice against New Britain southpaw Jason Wheeler. His hardest hit ball came in his last at-bat in the bottom of the fourth where he lasered a ball to deep right center, but was robbed of extra bases by Rock Cats right fielder Reynaldo Rodriguez.
"I felt good today. I had a couple at-bats and each one I tried to see some pitches. If it was in the zone I was going to swing. It seemed like he was throwing me more sliders than he did fastballs, but you have to deal with that," Bourn commented. "I'm not really worried about how many hits I get, I'm worried about how I feel when I have to run and throw."
RubberDucks' manager David Wallace thought that Bourn did well in his plate appearances, especially for going up against a tall, left-handed starter in Wheeler: "I thought his at-bats got better as they went. It's not the ideal guy to face on your first day coming back in a 6'6" lefty who is pretty good."
The former two-time-all star is scheduled to rehab through next Tuesday, August 12th. He has the day off Wednesday night and is tentatively scheduled for three straight seven-inning stints on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before another off-day on Sunday. Bourn will then play two full games next Monday and Tuesday to finish up his assignment.
The 31-year-old has battled injuries in his first two seasons with the Indians. This season, Bourn has missed 47 games due to hamstring problems, and he said that even in the games he played in that he didn't quite feel like he was fully healthy.
"It's nagged me the whole year. Right before I got hurt again I felt like I was right around one hundred percent."
Despite the setbacks that he's had, Bourn said that he is only concentrating on what's ahead of him from now on: "I'm not really looking in the past, only towards the future. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and look forward."
As far as his big league club goes, the Indians are currently 57-56 and are still in the hunt for the wild card and possibly, the division. Referencing last year's 21-6 finish in the month of September, I asked him if he thought the team could make the magic happen again.
"Yeah I think we can, we just have to take it one game at a time," Bourn replied. "I'm concerned about it because I'm not there and can't play, but I'm focusing on trying to get myself ready most."
Bourn closed the interview by saying the biggest step to getting himself ready is to simply be healthy.
"I want nothing else."
Spencer Davies is a student at the University of Akron studying Sports Management with a minor concentrating in Mass Communication. He has interned for the Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate Akron RubberDucks, IMG College, and has shadowed Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico. He is currently an on-air sports personality at WZIP-FM and works for the Akron Beacon Journal. Follow Spencer on Twitter @SpinDavies.