Indians center fielder Michael Bourn will begin the season on the disabled list with a hamstring injury suffered on March 16, the team announced.
Bourn was a big disappointment in the first season of his four-year, $48 million deal, hitting just .263 with a .676 OPS and career-low 23 steals, and then in October he underwent surgery on the same hamstring that’s still bothering him now. He struggled this spring before being shut down, so the injury is a major worry for a 31-year-old whose value is almost entirely dependent on his speed.
Nyjer Morgan has won a spot on the Opening Day roster after coming to camp on a minor-league deal, so he’ll help fill in until Bourn is ready. Morgan played poorly for the Brewers in 2012, spent last season putting up mediocre numbers in Japan, and didn’t exactly impress this spring, but the Indians don’t have a ton of other options. Michael Brantley also has center field experience, so the Indians could shift him over from left field to avoid playing Morgan regularly. That would create more at-bats for Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles.