Catch shows healthy Bourn at his best

Catch shows healthy Bourn at his best

CHICAGO -- Anyone doubting Michael Bourn's health need only to look to the eighth inning of Tuesday's win over the White Sox for some peace of mind. The Indians' center fielder made a spectacular diving catch that required both speed and athleticism.

Bourn's left hamstring appears to be holding up just fine for now.

"He's not playing with any fear," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

The play in question came with the score caught in a 6-6 deadlock in the eighth, when Indians reliever Scott Atchison squared off against Chicago veteran Paul Konerko. The 38-year-old slugger lofted a pitch to shallow center, where shortstop Jose Ramirez and second baseman Jason Kipnis convened well short of the fly ball.

Bourn got a good jump, staying low, sprinting in and diving forward to pluck the baseball from the air before it dropped to the grass. Francona was blown away by the play, which proved key in the Indians being able to keep the score knotted en route to an 8-6 win in 10 innings.

"I should've brought that up last night after the game," Francona said on Wednesday. "That might've been one of the plays of the game. Who knows what they can do [if it's a hit]? They can pinch-run. That was leadoff and that was Atch's last hitter. ... When the ball left his bat, I was like, 'Dang, man. Runner on first at worst.'

"I was looking at our middle infielders, because I knew they couldn't get there. [Bourn] came out of nowhere. And if you look at the jump, he got really low. If he stands up on that ball, he never gets it. He stayed low. That was a really good play."

Bourn was shelved from July 6-Aug. 15 with a left hamstring injury, marking the third setback with the same hamstring this season. It is also the same one he had surgically repaired last October. The diving catch on Tuesday night showed clearly that the center fielder is feeling like his old self again for Cleveland.

"He's a pretty darned good outfielder," Francona said. "That ball, he had no chance unless he did everything fundamentally perfect. ... I think he did such a good job on his rehab and, to be honest with you, before he hurt it again, he was doing fine. It just happened."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.