Peter Bourjos is a reigning gold glove winner. Probably the best defensive center fielder in the game. But the dude has been riding pine like crazy lately:
Peter Bourjos’ game-changing speed and Gold Glove-caliber defense don’t do the Angels any good on the bench, but that’s where those tools were again Wednesday night. The center fielder was not in the lineup for the ninth time in 11 games, his playing time greatly reduced by the April 27 promotion of Mike Trout from triple A, but his attitude remaining upbeat and optimistic.
Hitting .192/.259/.288 will do that for you. And when the guy taking your place is both one of the most highly-touted prospects in the game, is himself great with the glove and has started out hitting really, really well, the bench is in your future.
It’s kind of tough for Anaheim. On the one hand, you have Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter in the corners — and neither of them are long term members of the team in all likelihood — so the idea of sliding Trout to right and keeping Bourjos’ glove in the game is appealing. On the other hand, with the offense struggling as much as it has, even Vernon Wells is an upgrade over Bourjos.
Ultimately, whether Bourjos’ 2011 season — in which he posted a .765 OPS — represents his true level will determine his future. If he hits like that, it’ll play with his leather. If not, he’s gonna see a lot more bench time in his future.
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.
It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.
At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”
Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.