Bourjos' hitting woes outweighing defense

Phillies outfielder has started just one of last eight games

Bourjos' hitting woes outweighing defense

PHILADELPHIA -- The biggest reason the Phillies acquired Peter Bourjos in the offseason is they loved his defense.

But his stellar defense and its benefits to a young pitching staff no longer outweigh his offensive struggles.

"Unfortunately, yes," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "We were just talking about that. He has got to make a drastic change to his approach offensively. Because he just has that tendency to pull off the ball too much."

Bourjos, who started 43 of the team's first 51 games, has started just one of the last eight after starting on the bench Tuesday night because he is hitting .196 with a .511 OPS in 158 plate appearances. There are 215 hitters with 150 or more plate appearances this season. According to FanGraphs, Bourjos' offensive production is next-to-last in baseball, above only Erick Aybar. Bourjos' wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) is 34. Aybar's is 13.

According to Baseball Savant, 42.5 percent of pitches thrown to Bourjos this season have been breaking balls, which ranks eighth in baseball among 238 hitters that have seen 500 or more pitches this season.

"Well, you know, he's got to make an adjustment," Mackanin said about Bourjos seeing a steady diet of breaking balls. "I love his defense. He has to make adjustments mechanically like a lot of our guys."

Of course, Bourjos made a fine defensive play in the ninth inning in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over the Cubs. He cut off a ball in right-center field to prevent the tying run from scoring.

"Not too many right fielders would have cut that ball off in right-center like Bourjos did," Mackanin said. "I give him a save, as well. Defense really saved us."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.