Peter Bourjos knows there’s an opportunity to be seized in the White Sox outfield, but the 29-year-old is trying to take a relaxed approach this spring.
“Offensively I learned to just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself, and it hasn’t translated. Last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go. I had success with that.”
A 10th-round pick by the Angels in 2005, Bourjos has played seven seasons in the majors: four the Angels, two with the Cardinals and last season with Phillies. He hit .251 with 20 doubles, seven triples, five home runs, 40 runs, 23 RBIs and a .681 OPS over 123 games in 2016.
He signed a minor-league deal with the Sox in January because of the vacancy in the outfield after the Sox traded Adam Eaton to the Nationals in December.
“Bourj has been around,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look.”
For now, there’s an even wider opening as Sox center-field prospect Charlie Tilson recovers from a setback.
Tilson, who was coming back from a left hamstring surgery, suffered a stress reaction in his right foot over the weekend and will miss impact activities for 10 days. The Sox don’t expect a lengthy recovery, but they will focus on some of their other center-field options in the meantime.
Bourjos, who has the most major-league experience in center of the Sox’s options, knew Tilson before this year because they both played in the Cardinals organization.
“I feel bad for him. He has gone through a lot,” Bourjos said. “I talked to him this morning, just said, ‘Keep your head up.’ … It’s just a matter of him playing well when he is healthy, and nobody’s going to remember seven days at the beginning of spring training.”
Bourjos already has some familiarity with Chicago.
He lived in the city until he was in second grade, when his family moved to Arizona. He still has some family in the area but he doesn’t remember much about it except the snow. He said he’s glad to have a chance to train this spring near his home.
“I have two young kids, so packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either,” Bourjos said. “I evaluated what might be the best chance of making a team, and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”
Extra innings: Renteria said Yoan Moncada will continue to develop at second base, even though there is now an opening in center field, where some have speculated he might be better suited. … The Sox will not play an intrasquad game this year because Renteria prefers they focus on fundamentals instead.