Michael Bourn Strives to Stay Healthy and Return Stronger
Danny Madden | On 08, Aug 2014
It’s hard to see a player go down on the disabled list one time during a season. It’s even worse when he goes down twice. That’s been the case this season with Michael Bourn. After spending some time at the beginning of the season on the disabled list, he found his way back on it after injuring his hamstring back on July 5. The injury is on the same hamstring that Bourn had surgery on this offseason, but it is not in the same spot. He is now spending some time with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks on a rehab assignment for the second time this season.
“I felt good man, I’m not worried about how many hits I get. I’m worried about how I feel when I’ve gotta run and throw and stuff like that,” Bourn said. “So I felt good doing everything I was supposed to do. I had to do a little workout and treatment afterwards. So everything felt good”
Bourn has just been hit by a stroke of bad luck this season. The two times that he’s been on the disabled list have been due to hamstring injuries, but neither of them have been where he had surgery on during the winter. It’s been tough for Bourn to get comfortable up in Cleveland
Before being put on the disabled list, Bourn was hitting .267/.316/.379 with 9 doubles, 7 triples, 7 stolen bases, 21 RBI, and 3 home runs. This hamstring injury has really hampered his ability to concentrate at the plate.
“It’s nagged me the whole year. Probably right before I got hurt it felt 100%,” Bourn said.
Due to the nature of the injury, the rehab procedures for this injury was slightly different from his previous injuries. With the injury being in a different part of the hamstring, Bourn will need to try and strengthen up his hamstring in order to keep it healthy. That’s what Bourn has been focusing on during his rehab.
“For the most part the strengthening part for the last four weeks has been good. I’ve had time to strengthen it, and I’ve been taking it kind of slow, but I’m trying to go my pace as well. I feel good,” Bourn said.
During his time off, Bourn has had to follow a very specific program in order to get back to a healthy state. This is something that needs to be followed in order to get his hamstring back into game playing condition. Bourn is willing to do whatever it takes to get back to Cleveland healthy, even if it means moving through the program a bit slower then he would like.
“I’m just going to do the program I’m supposed to do. Play like I’m supposed to play. Try to take care of my body the best I can.”
After missing a month of playing time, Bourn saw his first game action with the RubberDucks on August 5. In that game, he went 0-3 with one strike out. What was encouraging to see in that start was that with each passing at bat he seemed to be able to square up on the ball with stronger contact. In his third at bat, he sent a liner to right field that happened to be right at the outfielder.
“It’s my first at bat in a while. Each at bat I just tried to see some pitches. If they were in the zone I was gonna swing. That’s what I did every at bat. He was throwing more sliders than fastballs. You’ve gotta deal with that. I just wanted to see some fastballs just to know what the timing, but I had to time with the slider more today,” Bourn said following his first outing.
What was good to see in his first outing back was that he was able to move around in center without having any issue. He looked comfortable playing in the outfield, even when the conditions weren’t ideal as the field had been wet from earlier rain showers.
“Bournie looked good to me. He was moving around in centerfield well, but he didn’t really have much action. Look forward to getting him back Thursday,” manager Dave Wallace comments on Bourns outing.
He didn’t get a chance to make any plays in center as it was all quiet on that front while he was out there. His start only lasted for five innings, as the plan is to ramp up his innings played with each start.
During his second start on August 7, Bourn played seven innings this time around. At the end of the day, he went 0-3 with 2 strike outs. In the third inning, a quickly sinking fly ball was hit out towards Bourn who had to run a long way to make a play on it. He was able to make a diving catch to grab the ball for the out. He didn’t seem to have any trouble moving around again, and he was able to go the full seven innings while making two more put outs in center.
What excited Bourn the most was that he was able to trust his legs during the game on Thursday.
“I didn’t have to think about it. That’s the thing you wanna do, you wanna go without breaking,” Bourn said. “Not thinking about “let me see if I can do it or not?” Just go on reaction, and I was able to do that. I was satisfied because I was able to make a diving play and not think about it. Twirl and it felt fine.”
In order for Bourn to be the force that the Indians were hoping for when they signed him to a 4 year $48 million dollar contract before the 2013 season, he’ll need to be able to trust his legs. There’s no real reason to rush Bourn back to the majors as Michael Brantley has been patrolling center since his absence. Bourn will continue his rehab assignment Friday and Sunday with the RubberDucks before moving to Columbus spend some time with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.
Bourn wants to be back in Cleveland to help try and push for a potential playoff appearance. From the looks of it so far, it seems that Bourn may be ready to head back to Cleveland as soon as next week.
“I want to be healthy, that’s it. I want nothing else, just be healthy.”
Photo: Getty Images