JUPITER, Fla. -- After watching Peter Bourjos stay mostly upbeat as the outfielder searched for the timing of his swing, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sensed an increased level of frustration from the veteran during Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Marlins.
Bourjos zapped a potential rally his first time to the plate by grounding into a second-inning double play. He struck out each of his next two times up -- once by flailing at a breaking ball in the dirt -- to fall to 1-for-23 in Grapefruit League play.
"There are some things he was doing well, and now I'm starting to see him tense up, trying to make things happen instead of trusting what he's doing," Matheny said afterward. "That's what is frustrating -- when you see a kid who made the right changes that he needed to. This game is hard, and there are going to be times when you're doing the right thing mechanically and the hits don't come. But you want to see some positive reinforcement when you're doing something you think is right. He's just frustrated now. He wants to see results."
Bourjos has requested as many at-bats as the Cardinals are willing to give him, believing that repetitions will eventually result in his timing clicking. He wanted one more on Tuesday, but Matheny urged him to head home, clear his mind, take an off-day and return on Thursday ready to resume working.
Bourjos entered Spring Training eager to see the difference offseason hip surgery would have on his offensive game. He noticed an immediate difference in his body rotation, but finding the timing of that new swing has been slow to come.
The Cardinals have Bourjos under contract for $1.65 million this season, and they've projected him to be their fourth outfielder. Last year, Bourjos exited camp as the team's starting center fielder, only to lose that job to Jon Jay just weeks into the season.
"I still know that what we're watching now is better than what we were watching a year ago mechanically, with how he's able to get through the ball," Matheny said. "Even things just as simple as BP are very good indicators of what he physically can and cannot do. He can get through the ball now. That is so big to be able to fight one of the things that he struggled the most with, which is getting on that ball that is breaking away from him so much. I still feel that he's going to be fine."