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Bourn set to wage steals battle with Kipnis

Bourn set to wage steals battle with Kipnis

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Bourn set to wage steals battle with Kipnis

KANSAS CITY -- Heading into this season, it was assumed that Jason Kipnis would be chasing Indians center fielder in stolen bases. As the All-Star break approaches, Bourn is now wondering how soon he will be able to catch Kipnis.

"Man, he's up there. He's up there," Bourn said with a laugh on Wednesday. "That's all right. It's a long season. I've got to figure these pitchers out a little bit. They're treating me a little different this year.

"They're really quick to the plate on me. I'm a basestealer that doesn't like to force the issue unless I really need to."

Entering Wednesday's game against the Royals, Kipnis led Cleveland with 19 stolen bases in 73 games played. Bourn, who missed time earlier this season due to a right thumb injury, had 11 stolen bases through 56 games for the Indians.

In each of the past five seasons, Bourn has had at least 25 stolen bases by the All-Star break.

Bourn said things have been different in the American League.

"[Pitchers] are paying a lot of attention. I'm not exaggerating," Bourn said. "They're like 1.1 [seconds] to the plate, and they keep picking. That means I've got your attention. OK, cool. I don't have to go anywhere if I've got your attention.

"I'm getting picked on, man. They're picking on me. When you get a reputation for it, that happens."

Kipnis led the Tribe with 31 stolen bases a year ago, but Bourn has averaged 54 stolen bases in each of his past four seasons between stints with the Astros and Braves. Bourn believes there is ample time for him to run down Cleveland's second baseman.

"We'll see what happens in the second half," Bourn said with a grin. "I told him it's going to be a competition. It ain't over with yet. I like it. We've got a few people that can run."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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