Speedster Bourjos refining bunting skills

Speedster Bourjos refining bunting skills

Speedster Bourjos refining bunting skills
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Peter Bourjos might not be the fastest man in Major League Baseball, but he'd be running a leg on the sport's sprint relay team.

The Angels' young center fielder can fly. He probably won't be leading off much this season, but it's in his future. Mastering the fine art of bunting is on Bourjos' list of goals, and that is more than fine with his boss.

"That's something he has to have, and he is a good bunter," manager Mike Scioscia said, having watched Bourjos drop a bunt single to go with a double on Monday against Oakland.

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"You need a third baseman to respect the fact you can bunt to limit his range. You're going to roll a lot of balls over to third that are going to be hits if he's drawn in. For a speed guy, if you can bunt, it's a huge weapon in the holes it can open up."

Bourjos too often found himself down in counts during his two-month stint with the Angels last year to take advantage of his blinding speed with bunts. That's something he plans to rectify.

"I really want to work on bunting, getting it down and deadening the ball," Bourjos said. "In the big leagues, I was struggling when I came up to get comfortable. I want to make it one of my goals to lay down a bunt now and then, to keep guys aware of it. If I can squeeze out an extra hit with it here and there, it's important."

To alleviate the pressure, Bourjos figures to open the season at the bottom of the order. He has shown he can hit -- and produce some power -- in the Minor Leagues. His six homers in 51 games with the Angels in August and September would project to about 20 over a full season.