Slow-starting Bourjos to bat second in home opener vs. Cincy

News-DemocratApril 7, 2014 

— Center fielder Peter Bourjos, in an 0-for-13 funk to start the season, will bat second Monday when the St. Louis Cardinals open the home portion of their schedule against the Cincinnati Reds.

First pitch is scheduled for 3:15 p.m., with right-hander Michael Wacha pitching for St. Louis against Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani.

"A lot of it's just trying to get Peter going," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Bourjos' elevation to the No. 2 spot. "We've got to get him moving. It hasn't shown up statistically, but he's got a real nice swing going. You're seeing some things he worked on all through spring. He's just not getting a lot of results.

"And (we're) trying to put something together, too, against a tough pitcher in Cingrani. We had trouble getting anything going (against him in Cincinnati). There's not a reason why a couple of our guys, including Peter, can't be a part of helping our offense get sparked against a tough lefty."

Bourjos enjoyed a solid spring, his first with the Cardinals, batting .324 with a .405 on-base percentage in 14 games. But he already has six strikeouts, including two against Cingrani on Wednesday in a game won by the Reds 1-0.

"He's pretty demanding on himself," Matheny said of the hard-driving Bourjos. "You see a guy that really wants to put a good impression not just on the fans, but on his teammates. (He wants to) show he brings a lot to the table, which we know he does. But right now, he's pushing.

"Getting that first hit is a big deal, getting it over with. He's had a couple of real nice swings. We saw a couple of hard-hit balls; they just didn't find a hole for him. But they'll come. We anticipate him being a big part of our lineup."

Right fielder Allen Craig also is off to a sputtering start, batting .091 (2-for-22).

"I see the same swing," Matheny said of the career .302 hitter. "It looks like he's ready for every pitch. He's got that rare quality to him. Allen Craig's got a real nice idea how to go about his at-bats. His timing is off a hair."

Light rain has been falling downtown for the last few hours, but it is expected to stop before the game begins.

This is Matheny's eighth home opener with the Cardinals --five as a player and three as a manager. He said all have been special.

"I think there's probably more tradition (in St. Louis)," Matheny said. "It's special in every city; there's no question. But you look at the different things that consistently happen here, from the Clydesdales, obviously, and the excitement we have with the Hall of Famers.

"The whole presentation with the guys coming out the way they do in the cars and trucks, it's unique. ... It just seems like there's some more long-standing traditions here than other places."

Here are the lineups:

CARDINALS (3-3)

Matt Carpenter, 3B

Peter Bourjos, CF

Matt Holliday, LF

Allen Craig, RF

Yadier Molina, C

Matt Adams, 1B

Jhonny Peralta, SS

Kolten Wong, 2B

Michael Wacha, P

REDS (2-4)

Billy Hamilton, CF

Brandon Phillips, 2B

Joey Votto, 1B

Jay Bruce, RF

Ryan Ludwick, LF

Todd Frazier, 3B

Zack Cozart, SS

Brayan Pena, C

Tony Cingrani, P

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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