ATLANTA -- Michael Bourn gladly accepted the rare opportunity to rest as his Braves teammates attempted to extend their winning streak to eight games on Wednesday night. But the All-Star outfielder does not believe fatigue has influenced the slump he has experienced over the past couple of weeks.
"I don't feel tired, but you can always use a day to relax," Bourn said. "I've been going for a long stretch."
This marked just the second time this season that Bourn was not in the Braves' starting lineup. The 29-year-old center fielder had made 65 consecutive starts since last getting a chance to rest through the first eight innings of a May 16 game against the Marlins.
With Monday's acquisition of versatile outfielder Reed Johnson, the Braves might feel more comfortable giving Bourn a few more chances to rest during the season's final two months. Manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to start Jason Heyward in center field and Johnson in right field for Wednesday night's game.
While Johnson has the ability to play center, the majority of his playing time has been spent at the corner outfield positions.
Since gaining a late selection that gave him a chance to participate in his second All-Star Game, Bourn has struggled to be as productive as he was during the season's first three months. He has batted .201 with a .247 on-base percentage and 30 strikeouts in 81 at-bats in his past 18 games.
Bourn struck out once every 4.8 at-bats before the All-Star break. Since the break, he has struck out once every 2.7 at-bats.
"I'm always aggressive, but sometimes I'm too aggressive," Bourn said. "That's pretty much what I do when I'm too aggressive -- I strike out. That's my weakness. If I ever cut down on my strikeouts, it will get even better. That's part of playing baseball. Sometimes I'm too aggressive, but sometimes it works for me. I'd rather be too aggressive than more passive."