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Missing persons alert: Peter Bourjos

Peter Bourjos,

Los Angeles Angels’ center fielder Peter Bourjos crashes into the wall as he catches a fly ball hit by Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera in the sixth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim Calif., on Monday, July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Christine Cotter)


Peter Bourjos is a reigning gold glove winner. Probably the best defensive center fielder in the game. But the dude has been riding pine like crazy lately:

Peter Bourjos’ game-changing speed and Gold Glove-caliber defense don’t do the Angels any good on the bench, but that’s where those tools were again Wednesday night. The center fielder was not in the lineup for the ninth time in 11 games, his playing time greatly reduced by the April 27 promotion of Mike Trout from triple A, but his attitude remaining upbeat and optimistic.

Hitting .192/.259/.288 will do that for you. And when the guy taking your place is both one of the most highly-touted prospects in the game, is himself great with the glove and has started out hitting really, really well, the bench is in your future.

It’s kind of tough for Anaheim. On the one hand, you have Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter in the corners -- and neither of them are long term members of the team in all likelihood -- so the idea of sliding Trout to right and keeping Bourjos’ glove in the game is appealing. On the other hand, with the offense struggling as much as it has, even Vernon Wells is an upgrade over Bourjos.

Ultimately, whether Bourjos’ 2011 season -- in which he posted a .765 OPS -- represents his true level will determine his future. If he hits like that, it’ll play with his leather. If not, he’s gonna see a lot more bench time in his future.