DENVER – Michael Bourn has played every inning of every Braves game this season, but the center fielder has no intention to ask for a day off, no desire to get one, and shows no sign of fatigue.
Not after playing all 11 innings of Wednesday’s four-hour win against Philadelphia. Or all nine innings of the next day’s loss to the Phillies. Or all 11 innings of Friday’s series-opening win against the Rockies, when the speedy leadoff man went 3-for-6 with a double, a walk and his eighth and nine stolen bases, helping the Braves overcome a 5-0 first-inning deficit.
Asked Saturday if he still wanted to be in the lineup every day, he smiled.
“Yeah, man,” Bourn said. “I’m not asking for no day off. You feel it a little bit, but that’s part of playing baseball. That’s how it is. You just go out there every day and try to grind it out and give the team what you’ve got that day.”
Bourn’s bat heated up the sixth game of the season and has pretty much stayed hot ever since. He hit .385 (35-for-91) with seven extra-base hits, a .446 on-base percentage and eight stolen bases in the past 21 games before Saturday, and the Braves had a 14-7 record in that period.
“It’s been fun, man,” Bourn said. “We play well together as a group. We stick behind each other, like [Friday] night. Even though we were down 5-0, in the dugout nobody was panicking, nobody was mad at each other. We just said, let’s go. We kept trying to climb back into it, and once we got back in, we kept trying to pour it on some more.
“It was kind of like the night against Philly [Wednesday’s 15-13 win, when the Braves trailed 6-0 and 12-8]. We came back, they came back and took the lead, we came back some more…. We did it again last night. You have to go through those kind of games to know where you stand.
The only Braves who’ve started every game this season are Bourn and second baseman Dan Uggla. Nobody on the field runs as much as the center fielder, and Bourn covers a lot of ground. But he’s not missed an inning or at-bat for a cramp or a sore anything.
“Danny is just Danny,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who meant that as a compliment for his durable second baseman, who’s built like a fire hydrant with arms. “But I’ve been impressed with Bourny and the way he takes care of himself. He has a routine, he comes in in the afternoon and takes care of his body.
“Nevertheless, we’ve got this stretch of 20 games, I’m going to give him a breather. When we face a tough left-hander or something, I’m going to give him a rest.”
Beginning Friday at St. Louis, the Braves play 20 games in 20 days. If Bourn were asked to play every day, he’d gladly do it as long as he’s healthy enough to play.
“I like to play every day,” he said. “Everybody feels like they probably need a day off during the season. But I’m good right now. It’s a grind every day, just like going to work. I’m pretty sure every day y’all don’t say, ‘Man, I want to go to work.’ But you’ve got to go do it. Some days you’re not going to feel your best, but you’ve got to go out there and do your best.”
Prado better after bout with flu
Left fielder Martin Prado felt so ill with a flu bug on Friday that he was told to stay back at the team’s Denver hotel and skip the series opener, which he did.
He rejoined the team for Saturday night’s game, feeling better and available to come off the bench. Gonzalez said he expected Prado to be back in the lineup Sunday.
“I don’t know where I got that [flu bug] from, man,” said Prado, who fell ill soon after the Braves landed in Denver on Thursday night. “As soon as I got to my room I started shaking. Body aches and fever. I don’t know, man. I felt so weak. The next morning [Friday], it was not good.”
The Braves didn’t want to reveal before Friday’s game that Prado wasn’t at the ballpark, since they didn’t want the Rockies to know he would not be available at any point in the series opener.
“I felt so weird watching the game on TV” at the hotel, Prado said. “That was the only thing that made me feel better [about it], that we won the game. I was like, whew, OK, we won. They grinded, man. They did it.”