It seemed like outfielder Michael Bourn was never going to sign a new deal this offseason. Nearing the 11th hour, he eventually inked with the Cleveland Indians in a bit of a surprise move. He’s getting acquainted with his new team, and a new league, as things get rolling in spring training. Michael Bourn joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Bull and Fox to discuss joining with his new team, the Cleveland Indians, in spring training, how he came to sign with the team, switching from the National League to the American League and comparisons between him and Kenny Lofton.
What has it been like in Arizona thus far as a new member of the Cleveland Indians?
“It is a good atmosphere with the Indians so far. We’ve been having our first few days of spring training and getting ready to open up our first game.”
How much did Terry Francona being the manager factor into your decision to go to Cleveland?
“Good energy in the clubhouse. He pretty much has control of the team and everybody has a respect for him because of his pedigree in the past. I think he’s going to be good for us. I think he’s a good leader. We’re going to follow his lead and try to work behind it.”
How did you end up here?
“It happened toward the end. … I just wanted to be somewhere where somebody really wanted me. They came up and they were excited they had a chance to get me. I was here before they signed me … and I could see they were committed to me coming here. So I was happy to be here and I’m happy to be a part of it. We’re going to try to be exciting this year and the years to come.”
On the adjustment coming over to the American League:
“I think it’s just that I won’t have a pitcher hitting in front of me in none of my at-bats. In the National League, I’m a leadoff hitter so a lot of times when I come up, especially if we have 8-9-1 due up, I’m going to have the pitcher hitting in front of me and I’m going to have to take that first pitch even if it’s right down the middle, because I want the pitcher to have a little breath, because I think the pitcher dictates the game. Even in the National League, you don’t want to just rush him right back out there. … With the American League, you don’t have to worry about that. You can just do you.”
Are you excited about the young players you’ll be playing with? What gets you excited about this group?
“I’ve heard about all the talent they have. I know they had speed and athletic ability before I came. I just try to add on to that. We’ll try to become a good group together and continue to try to work together and help each other on the baseball field.”
On being compared to Kenny Lofton:
“I know I’m going to compare to him, but I’m not trying to be him, I’m trying to be me. That’s all I’m going to try to be. I know we have some similarities, but we have some differences, too.”