Bourn eager to get first game action
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — After working with a track coach, Michael Bourn is eager to see if the offseason work translates into a better year.
The Indians center fielder won’t play in Tuesday’s Cactus League opener against the Reds but will play on Wednesday.
After being on the disabled list only once, Bourn has had three stints since signing with the Indians in 2013 including two last year due to hamstring injuries. On the advice of strength and conditioning coach Joe Kessler, Bourn did his offseason training in Houston with former Olympian Leon Burrell, who at one time held the world record at 100 meters.
Bourn said the drills has helped tweak his explosiveness and should protect the hamstring while he runs. The result, at least early, has been a more refreshed and revitalized Bourn.
"I think it was pretty awesome what he did this winter. You don’t see too many nine-year veterans do that," said Terry Francona about Bourn. "Through the hard work and health comes confidence and with that comes some of the things we are looking for like creating some havoc for opposing teams."
After five straight seasons of 42 or more stolen bases from 2008-12, Bourn has stolen only 33 bases the past two seasons, including 10 last year. Both Bourn and Francona didn’t want to predict a number for this year.
"I just let it come as it comes. I would take it as it was given and if I could go get it I would," Bourn said. "I feel fine. There are no issues, and I’m ready to get started."
INJURY UPDATES: The Indians originally forecasted that Brandon Moss would be available for games the middle of the month, but he might beat that.
Francona said that Moss is "streaking along" in his rehab and did well on Monday when he was running the bases.
"It is hard to slow him down, and he is passing every test that they are giving him," Francona said.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis should be able to play in games by the end of the weekend.
ROTATION THOUGHT: Francona hinted during the offseason that Gavin Floyd could get the second spot in the rotation, but Carlos Carrasco is also trying to factor into it.
When Carrasco returned to the rotation in August, he followed Kluber and went 5-3 with a 1.30 ERA.
"We’ll think it through but that is part of the equation. Those types of things sometimes take care of themselves," Francona said. "We’re going to need five good starters and can lay it out whatever way we want. Kluber comes out of the shoot first that’s the easy one."
QUOTE OF THE DAY: From Francona on the first spring training game — "It is fun to have a game. I know it doesn’t look like it, but I woke up with a little extra pep in my step which means I was a fraction above comatose. It’s fun. We’re going to get to see the regulars play a few innings, and the younger guys play their first game and see how they handle it."