GLENDALE, Ariz. — Peter Bourjos can go get the ball, and he can still play center field, he said.
The fleet 29-year-old former Angel, Cardinal and Phillie was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training in January, a depth move that looked good when the Sox’ first injury of spring training occurred.
“I got that question a lot because I played right last year [with the Phillies],” Bourjos said. “But they didn’t want to move Odubel [Herrera] out of center and mess with him. I still feel like I was just as good as I was in Anaheim in center. I just haven’t played very much. We’ll see how it goes.”
The Sox were going to give prospect Charlie Tilson first crack at the starting job in center, and he still might, but Tilson injured his right foot [stress reaction] during drills Friday and is out 10 days. It was the second recent discouraging setback for the New Trier grad, who tore his left hamstring in his Sox debut last season. As a Cardinals prospect in 2012 (he was drafted in the second round the previous year) Tilson had surgery on his right (non-throwing) shoulder after he was injured attempting a diving catch.
Bourjos played with Tilson when they were in Cardinals camp together.
“Hopefully I go out and play well and have a good spring training,” Bourjos said.
“Come in here, have a good spring training and see what happens. On a minor league deal, that’s the only thing you can do. If it’s not here it’s somewhere else.
“I hope to help out some of the young guys. I can still play center, still play good defense. Hopefully I get some at-bats and hit a little bit.”
Bourjos will be paid $1.35 million if he makes the club. He slashed .251/.292/.380 over 383 plate appearances with the Phillies last season, close to his career norms.