CLEVELAND: Indians center fielder Michael Bourn has been on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring but could return soon, though it will at least be after a few more minor-league appearances.
Bourn, who is eligible to come off the disabled list when healthy (it was retroactive to March 21), played in the Triple-A Columbus game Saturday and went 1-for-3.
“I felt good, getting in a game situation,” Bourn said Sunday before adding that he felt fine hitting and running. “Chased a few balls down, got to them no problem. Broke on everything. Was able to get a hit, I always think that’s a plus.”
Bourn and manager Terry Francona said Bourn would be off Sunday, play around seven innings Monday and probably a full game on Tuesday.
“We’ll take it one step at a time from there, make sure my legs are under me,” Bourn said. “I’m trying to make sure I’m ready before I come back, that way I’m not trying to keep battling. It’s a hard thing to gauge because it’s a hamstring and it’s cold.”
Bourn said he’s unsure if he’ll join the team on its road trip, which kicks off after a three-game series with San Diego Monday through Wednesday.
Hamstring injuries can often linger if not dealt with thoroughly before the player returns. Because of that, and because Bourn is even more reliant than normal on his legs and his speed, caution has to take precedence – even if it is becoming tough for Bourn to be away from the field in Cleveland.
“Patience is a virtue. It’s not just a saying, it is, and you try to use it the best you can,” Bourn said. “When you’re used to playing all the time, [and now] you’re sitting down, it’s hard to watch your team from the dugout or TV or whatever it is. In your head, you have to tell yourself to be patient.”
Nyjer Morgan’s positive contributions are making it easier for Bourn to take the cautious steps he needs before returning. Morgan has played well as the team’s leadoff hitter, and on Saturday reached base four times (two singles, two walks).
“You don’t want to feel that pressure to rush back because the team might think that they need you,” Bourn said. “He’s a good player. He’s a proven player in the major leagues.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com.