Stros' Bourgeois Establishing Himself

Astros outfielder Jason Bourgeois is partial to September, probably always will be. September is when he got his foot into the door of a major league clubhouse for the first time.

Bourgeois got the call, unexpectedly, in September of 2008 from the Chicago White Sox. He was visiting a friend in Oklahoma City, looking for a little rest and relaxation after having batted .286 with 30 stolen bases for Class AAA Charlotte.

"For four days, I had my feet up," Bourgeois said.

Then White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin went down because of an injury. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wanted another body. The body belonged to Bourgeois.

"I only had three at-bats, but it was pretty cool," Bourgeois said.

Bourgeois has moved up in the world since then. Except for a couple of medical rehabilitation stints in the minor leagues, Bourgeois has spent all of this season in the majors.

He is batting .302 in 222 at-bats, with 27 stolen bases in 33 attempts, in a season interrupted twice by stints on the disabled list.

Bourgeois has used that speed to become a plus defender in the outfielder, usually in center field or right. On Wednesday, the Astros honored him as their Roberto Clemente Award nominee for work in the community.

He also turns 30 before the start of the season, so there is a sense of urgency to leave a strong final on-the-field impression with manager Brad Mills and the front office.

"Mentally, I try to make it feel like it's the playoffs," Bourgeois said. "Try to finish strong, even though we're not in the playoffs. I know it's nothing like the playoffs, unless you've been there. But baseball is mental. I try to put myself in the mental mode of it being the last game of the playoffs.

"Everybody wants a player who finishes strong. I think that makes a good impression on the staff and the front office. It doesn't matter who it is, pitchers or position players."

Bourgeois is batting .389 against left-handers (37-for-95), .236 against right-handers (30-for-127).

Given the makeup of the Houston roster, an ability to do some damage against left-handers could put him in good stead next season.

The front-runner to start in center field, Jordan Schafer, bats left-handed.

The front-runner to start in right field, Brian Bogusevic, hits left-handed.

That should lend itself for some ready-made playing opportunities for a right-handed hitter who can handle either of those outfield spots.

Somebody such as Bourgeois.

"He has had a nice year," Mills said. "Putting those injuries aside, here's a guy who has got the ability, he's got the attitude, he's got the work ethic.

"That's going to take him a long way because of the skills that he has."

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