Vivlamore reporting from Sarasota where the Braves will take on the Orioles this afternoon. Just a quick apology for yesterday but I got hit with a 24-hour flu that knocked me hard. I made it through two batters in the game against the Tigers and had to leave. That has never happened to me in my career before. We move on.
Here is a Q&A I did with centerfielder Michael Bourn. It will become a story for the Sunday paper but here is the entire transcript.
Q. What is your mindset going into this season with a full season hitting leadoff for the Braves ahead of you?
A. I have no problem with it. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to get prepared for the season to play. That’s about it. Other than that, there is nothing else to it, just using spring training to get ready for the season.
Q. What is your off-season program like?
A. I do take some down time to let my body relax. I let it recover for the most part and when I feel like I’m feeling OK, like it’s had enough rest, I go into getting it back into shape.
Q. What is involved in that program?
A. I don’t tell too many people all that. I work out a little bit. I take some days off when I’m working out just to make sure I get some rest.
Q. After an offseason of reflection, what was it like for you coming here midseason? Was there pressure to be the missing piece?
A. No. I just tried to do what I need to do. I don’t really take it like that, being the missing piece. It’s a team game. One person can make a difference in a game, but you are going to win and lose as a team. When I got over here, I just kept doing what I was doing in Houston. I just tried to let it carry over. That was it.
Q. The intangibles you bring, being able to manufacture a run, can lead to wins. Do you look at it that way?
A. That is fine. I’m always down for that. I’m always going to try to win the game. If I can help do that, I’m going to do it.
Q. Your approach going into this season is no different?
A. No. It’s the same old thing. It’s just a different team. I try to get prepared the same way. I’ve played enough to know how to get prepared. I might change a little here and there about learning stuff but for the most part I go about my business the same way.
Q. When you got here, did the coaches talk to you about what they expected from you as a leadoff hitter?
A. No. They just told me to go out and play. They didn’t want me thinking too much. They didn’t want me to worry about what is going on. I just do what I do. That’s it.
Q. What is your outlook for the season, especially coming off last season’s finish?
A. I think last year is over with. This is a totally different team. We got the same players, but it’s a totally different year. Last year, the Cardinals were hot at the time. They played good baseball. We went into a little rut. We can sit here and talk about it all day, but it’s over with. You’ve got to be able to move forward. If you linger on it, of course, it’s going to affect you. I don’t even think about it. After the season is over, I reflected on it for a little bit and that was it.
Q. So looking forward what is your outlook for this team?
A. I think we have a chance to be good. I think we have a chance to play for a long time. If we all take care of our business, all try to perform like we know we can, I think we will be a pretty good team. We got offense. We got pitching. We got defense. Put all three of them together and we’ll be able to give some people stuff to think about.
Q. You are in the last year of your contract. Have the Braves talked to you about re-signing?
A. No, I haven’t heard anything. I just take it one day at a time, take it in stride. When there business aspect comes up, me and the person that represents me will handle that accordingly.
Q. Would you like to start talks during the season?
A. No, I would rather not because that is discussions that you have to have on the phone every other day. I would rather just play the season with a clear mind and worry about the game, who is pitching, that kind of stuff rather than a deal. I would just rather concentrate on the game.
Q. I assume you would like to stay here?
A. It’s always a possibility. I like playing where I’m wanted. That’s one thing that I always say. That side will come. Right now, I’m going to worry about spring training, getting ready for the season and take it from there.
Here are a couple quotes from GM Frank Wren on Bourn’s contract status:
“Our basic philosophy is we have expressed that we would like to retain Michael and then, from there, we go silent. When we approach him, before or after the season, those are things we prefer not to talk about.
“He is a guy that we like on our team. We think he fits really well. We like everything about him. We think his makeup is great. Good teammate. He works hard. He plays the game well. So, he is the perfect fit for us so our desire is that he stays with us beyond this year.”
Today’s lineup vs. Orioles:
1. Luis Durango, CF
2. Martin Prado, 2B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Eric Hinske, LF
5. David Ross, C
6. Jason Heyward RF
7. Joey Terdoslavich, 3B
8. Evan Gattis, DH
9. Tyler Pastornicky, SS