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Angels' Peter Bourjos won't get in middle of controversy

Peter Bourjos, fresh off the DL, returns to his usual position, center field, forcing Mike Trout back to left field. Manager Mike Scioscia has taken flak for that.

June 10, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
  • Angels' Peter Bourjos, left, scores against the Oakland Athletics in April.
Angels' Peter Bourjos, left, scores against the Oakland Athletics… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

BALTIMORE — Peter Bourjos didn't get caught up in the controversy surrounding Manager Mike Scioscia's decision to move Mike Trout from center field to left field when Bourjos, out since April 30 because of a left hamstring strain, was activated.

"You hear it, but there's nothing you can do about it," Bourjos said. "At the time all that was going on, I could barely walk, so it wasn't my first concern at all. My concern was getting healthy. Then, I could deal with it."

Bourjos, Trout and Scioscia finally dealt with it Monday night. Bourjos, after a weeklong minor league rehabilitation stint, was back in center field against the Baltimore Orioles, and Trout was in left.

BOX SCORE: Baltimore 4, Angels 3

Though Trout is more comfortable in center, a position where he excelled last season, and hit .342 with eight homers, 12 doubles, five triples and 28 runs batted in in 38 games there since Bourjos' injury, Scioscia called Trout into his office a few days ago to inform him he'd be moving back to left.

"I knew it was coming," said Trout, who hit a solo homer in the third inning Monday night. "Petey was playing well there before he went on the disabled list."

Bourjos, who singled in the fifth, is a superb center fielder, but in his entire professional career, he has played five games in left field, all in the minor leagues.

"I don't know if Peter's lack of experience in left field really factors in," Scioscia said. "It's a whole picture. Peter is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder, he gives you a unique dimension there, and it allows you to be stronger on the wings. It makes more sense to have him in center."

Elbow troubles

When reliever Sean Burnett went on the DL May 28 because of an elbow impingement, he thought he'd be pitching by Monday, the day he was eligible to be activated.

Instead, Burnett, who has made little progress in his recovery, traveled to Birmingham, Ala., Monday to be examined by Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedic surgeon who removed bone spurs from Burnett's throwing elbow last October.

"We just want to make sure he's moving in the right direction," Scioscia said. "We'll see where it goes."

Scioscia said Burnett's doctor visit was not necessarily an indication the left-hander might need surgery, but it's clear the Angels are concerned. Burnett has not thrown off a mound since his latest injury.

Burnett, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2004, has been on the DL twice this season and has appeared in only 13 games, compiling an 0.93 earned-run average in 92/3 innings.

Burnett and right-hander Ryan Madson were the key bullpen acquisitions for General Manager Jerry Dipoto last winter, but Burnett has had elbow problems all season, and Madson, who has had several setbacks in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, has not pitched yet.

Short hops

To clear a roster spot for Bourjos, the Angels designated seldom-used utility infielder Chris Nelson for assignment. The Angels will have 10 days to trade or release Nelson. If he clears waivers, he could accept an assignment to triple-A Salt Lake.

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