Bourjos cleared to start swinging before Spring Training

Cardinals outfielder deemed healthy after October surgery on right hip

Bourjos cleared to start swinging before Spring Training

ST. LOUIS -- Peter Bourjos may have traveled to St. Louis primarily to participate in the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up activities this weekend, but he'll head home to Arizona having gained a little bit of something for himself, too.

During his stopover in St. Louis, Bourjos had a follow-up visit with team orthopedist Dr. David King, who performed right hip surgery on Bourjos in late October to address an impingement that had nagged Bourjos for several years. At this most recent visit, Bourjos received the green light to resume swinging.

He's expected to do so starting next week, leaving Bourjos confident that he'll be unrestricted in activity when Spring Training opens next month.

"Everything seems to be on schedule and going well," Bourjos said, shortly before signing autographs on Saturday. "I just want to be healthy, that's it."

Uncertain at points this offseason whether he'd be tended a contract or if he would be sent elsewhere as part of a trade, Bourjos is now focused on carving a role within a crowded Cardinals outfield. Unlike last spring, when he came in as the favorite to win the starting center field job, Bourjos looks likely to slot in as a backup behind Jon Jay.

Improving his on-base percentage, in particular, could help Bourjos warrant an increase in playing time. Otherwise, his greatest value will likely continue to be as a late-game defensive replacement or pinch-runner. That was how he was able to appear in 119 games last season despite making only 65 starts.

"I think last year, I felt I had to win playing time and prove that I belonged on this team," Bourjos said. "That's the same thing I have to do this year. I know there were some people that said I had the starting job last year, but I never felt like I did. I don't look at it any differently. I just want to play well and help the team win."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.