JUPITER, Fla. -- Already banned from the team's complex by his manager, Peter Bourjos couldn't help but try to sneak in a few swings during the team's off-day on Wednesday. And since he didn't have access to a batting cage, he improvised in front of a mirror, picking up any nearby object that could suffice as a fill-in for a bat.
That is, until his wife, Ashley, would spot him.
"[She] kept yelling at me because she would see me looking in the mirror at something and say, 'Stop that. It's your day off. Get away from it,'" Bourjos admitted a day later. "As a baseball player, this game can really take a toll on you and you can be always thinking about stuff."
Thanks to his wife's insistence, Bourjos did his best to let go on the Cardinals' first official off-day of the spring. He spent time at the beach as well as lounging poolside, doing what he could not to dwell on a 1-for-23 spring start that has left some wondering how secure a roster spot he really has.
Some positive reinforcement followed on Thursday, with Bourjos executing a sacrifice bunt, flying out to the warning track and then lifting a home run over the left-field wall in his final at-bat in the Cardinals' 7-2 loss.
"I think any result right now [is positive]," Bourjos said, when asked about the relief of tallying another hit. "My swing feels good in the cage. It feels good in batting practice. It feels good in the game. A lot of it has been timing and trusting it.
"Coming into today I felt like I was in between my old swing and where I'm trying to go. And I really want to make an effort of sticking with where I want to go even though the results haven't been there. Because at the end of the day, I'm going to be a much better player, a much better hitter and have much more success if I continue to work in that progression instead of going back to what I feel comfortable with."
The new swing is the result of the renewed rotation he can get following offseason surgery to relieve a hip impingement. As Bourjos tries to condition himself to feeling freer, he's asked the Cardinals for as many spring at-bats as they can find for him. His 26 Grapefruit League at-bats rank second on the club. Bourjos has also taken swings in a "B" game and participated in extra live batting practice.
"You just want to see some positive results for him because he's been working so hard to try and put together a swing that's better than it was because he's healthy," Matheny said. "Something like today, hopefully, will carry over and he can keep having some positive results and feel good about where he is."