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Bourjos latest Angels center fielder to rob Hardy

Bourjos latest Angels center fielder to rob Hardy


BALTIMORE -- So, which homer-robbing catch was better: Mike Trout's in June of last year, or Peter Bourjos' on Tuesday night?

J.J. Hardy has a unique perspective.

"Yeah, they're both tied for first," the Orioles' shortstop said, after being robbed by an Angels center fielder at Oriole Park for the second consecutive year.

On June 27, 2012, Trout took away a shot off the bat of Hardy, vaulting off the rubberized track at Oriole Park, extending his left elbow up over the fence and turning in arguably the best catch of the season.

On Tuesday evening, it happened again to Hardy. Only this time, it was Bourjos, the speedy center fielder who was activated off the disabled list on Monday and -- a bit controversially -- moved Trout back to left field.

Trout couldn't have been more pumped if he had made the play himself.

"Once we got in the dugout, we were messing with J.J. at shortstop and he was just shaking his head," Trout said after the Angels' 3-2 loss. "As an infielder, he's taken a lot of hits away from us. So, any chance we get to take hits away from other players, we're going to do it."

With one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the first inning, Hardy jumped all over a Jason Vargas fastball and drove it to deep center field. Bourjos raced straight back, all the way to the wall, and timed his jump perfectly, coming back with Hardy's ball in his glove.

It was the fifth robbed home run of Bourjos' career, tied with Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin for the most since 2010, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

"Initially, I felt like I had a good jump, I just didn't know if the ballpark was going to hold it," said Bourjos, who actually spent the winter working out with Hardy.

"I felt like the wall was coming, and luckily I timed it well enough. I had a pretty good read on where the wall was, and it was just a matter of whether I was going to be able to jump high enough."

Trout's catch was right above the "C" in the Southwest.com sign in right-center field. Bourjos' took place near the "410" sign in straightaway center. Both catches occurred with one out in the first inning.

Both were jaw-dropping.

"It was a great catch," Trout said. "If I say Pete's is better, he's going to say mine is better. It's just an unbelievable play."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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