Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos has been one of the most underrated players in baseball this season, combining exceptional defense with surprisingly strong hitting to rank 11th among AL position players in Wins Above Replacement.
Ozzie Guillen came to appreciate Bourjos after the Angels swept a two-game series against the White Sox this week, heaping praise on the 24-year-old center fielder:
Oh my god, he can be my favorite player. I’ve never seen a white man that can run that fast. It is really impressive. That man might be the fastest person in baseball right now.
Bourjos hasn’t quite mastered stealing bases, going 17-for-23 so far, but there’s no one faster running to first base or going first-to-third, and Ultimate Zone Rating says he’s been 10.2 runs above average defensively in center field while batting .282 with 39 extra-base hits and a .780 OPS in 116 games.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.