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Bourn lives up to expectations to begin season

Bourn lives up to expectations to begin season

ST. PETERSBURG -- Michael Bourn had a slow spring, but he's off to a quick start to the regular season.

Bourn recorded the Indians' only two hits in Friday night's 4-0 loss to the Rays, one of them a leadoff infield single in the first inning and the other a double to right field. He also ran down several fly balls in center field, prompting Cleveland manager Terry Francona to note that Bourn's speed is starting to become a factor for the Tribe.

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"I think during Spring Training ... he's smart enough to know that he's going to get beat up during the year. I think he got himself ready like a professional," Francona said. "But I think we all felt like that would be the case, and I think as the season progresses and he doesn't get beat up, I think you'll see his speed continue.

"He's all over the place. That's why we got him. That's impressive."

Bourn went 7-for-18 with two doubles and two runs scored in four games. The Indians signed him to a four-year, $48 million contract this offseason with a $12 million vesting option for 2017, hoping to improve their lineup with a dynamic leadoff man and their defense with a speedy center fielder. The season is still in its infancy, but that's exactly what Bourn has been so far.

"He's been setting the table great for our offense so far. I wish other bats would follow his lead," second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "The value he brings up at the top of the lineup is something that we haven't had in a while. The guy's just a table-setter for us and wreaks havoc on defense and pitchers alike, and hits lefties and righties just as well as each other.

"He's great to have. So far, he's as advertised and a great guy to have in the locker room, too. He's been the whole deal."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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