Michael Bourn was an All-Star in 2012.
That season, for the Atlanta Braves, he hit .274 with nine home runs and 57 RBI while stealing 42 bases.
The following offseason he signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Cleveland Indians, and since then has not come close to the numbers he posted that season with the Braves.
He was dealt back to Atlanta in 2015, but was released by the Braves on April 9, 2016. From there he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, but was granted his release when it appeared there was no room for him on the big league roster.
A few days after the Blue Jays dumped him, the D-backs offered Bourn a minor league contract and Monday, when Arizona hosts the New York Yankees, he will get the start in center field.
“I’m happy to be back,” he told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday prior to his first start for the team. “I had a long road — a crazy road for this first month and a half — but you know, everything happens for a reason. Now I’m here and I’m happy to be part of the Diamondbacks’ organization.”
The 33-year-old who bats left-handed but throws with his right hand appeared in five games for Double-A Mobile, hitting .318 with one double, one RBI and one stolen base. He had just one plate appearance for Triple-A Reno — a sacrifice bunt — but really, the D-backs brought him up more for his ability to play center field than because of anything he can do at the plate.
Ever since starter A.J. Pollock was sidelined with an elbow injury just days before the season opener, the team has been scrambling on a daily basis to create a lineup that has three true outfielders.
To wit: Sunday against the Giants, skipper Chip Hale deployed backup catcher Chris Herrmann in center field.
Bourn was aware of what was happening in Arizona, but felt like he did enough in spring training to earn a spot with the Braves. Yet, they decided to part with him — while paying the majority of the contract he signed back in 2013 — and then in Toronto, it was more of a numbers game that kept the veteran in the minors.
In Arizona, the hope is those teams’ loss will be the D-backs’ gain, as Bourn could in theory fill a position of need for a team that has been struggling to gain any kind of footing in 2016.
A Gold Glove Award winner in 2009 and 2010, Bourn believes he can help his new team.
“A lot of different scenarios,” he said when asked how. “You just have to play the game and let the game come to you. You’ll have to see and watch.”
At his best, though, Bourn is a player who can get on base and steal bases, and he is confident he can still do that at this point in his career.
“What I’m looking to do is take one at-bat at a time, one day at a time,” Bourn said. “I try to simplify the situation; if you try to just go out there and do everything in one at-bat, it’s probably not going to happen. So you have to sit there and simplify everything and I’ve been playing for a while, so I know how to just try to settle down, try not to do everything in one day. Let the game come to you and play your game. That’s about all you can do.”
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