Michael Bourn grimaces as he makes his way down the third base line to score off a single by Michael Brantley during the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field on Saturday night.
CLEVELAND –Saturday was shaping up as one of Michael Bourn’s better games of the season. He homered in the third and had an outfield assist in the fifth when Billy Butler tried to go to third on a Danny Valencia single.
Then came the eighth inning and another setback with his left hamstring. As Bourn was rounding third on a Michael Brantley single, the Indians center fielder tweaked it again and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. He will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of it even though manager Terry Francona didn’t think it was season ending.
It is the fourth hamstring-related problem for Bourn in the past nine months and the second time this season he has had to go on the DL.
"It was just starting to come back the past couple weeks where it was feeling better than it had felt all year. I could open up real good and not think about it at all," Bourn said on Sunday before the Indians faced the Royals. "At least it isn’t the same spot (as the past injuries). I’m just trying to keep it healthy. The first couple times haven’t worked out."
Bourn injured the hamstring in last season’s regular-season finale at Minnesota as he was trying to steal second base in the ninth inning. He had offseason surgery and then strained it during a Spring Training game on March 16 against the Giants. He missed the first 13 games of the season on the DL and did a brief rehab stint before making his season debut on April 16.
In early May, Bourn missed four games when he tweaked it. It was later determined that it was more related to scar tissue from the surgery breaking loose. All of those were on the inside of the left hamstring. This injury is on the other side.
In 66 games this season, Bourn his batting .267 with three home runs and 21 RBI. He is second in the American League in triples with seven.
"It feels tight but I don’t think anything is torn. Once the tightness goes away I will be able to play again," he said.
Had Bourn not been placed on the DL, the least amount of time he would have missed is five games. But with some depth in the outfield, past injuries and the All-Star break coming up, the thinking was to give it time.
"Letting him play free and easy (when he comes back) makes more sense. Getting him back for the weekend seems like a little bit of a reach especially when you have four days off after that," Francona said. "He was moving around last night great. Sometimes these things happen for whatever reason and we will deal with it the best way that we can."
Michael Brantley will be the primary center fielder in Bourn’s absence while Mike Aviles, Ryan Raburn and Tyler Holt will see time in left. Holt was called up on Sunday to fill the open roster spot and arrived two hours before the game. Nyjer Morgan is on the 60-day DL and would not be available until after the All-Star break.
The Indians have called up Tyler Holt, who has hit .302 between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus along with 21 stolen bases. Over his past nine games with the Clippers he is 14 for 36.
Said Francona of Holt: "He can play all three outfield positions. He can do a little bit of everything and be reliable. For a young player that is a big compliment."