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OC Register: Justin Bour returns to Angels after successful stint at Triple-A


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ANAHEIM — Justin Bour is going to get a chance to show if his visit to Triple-A had the desired affect.

The Angels sent Bour and his .163 batting average down last month to find himself, and he returned on Tuesday night after hitting .292 with five homers and 1.011 OPS in 19 games at Salt Lake.

“Honestly, after a couple days I felt like myself again,” Bour said. “I felt like I was swinging the bat relatively well. It was good.”

Bour, a 31-year-old who signed as a free agent with the Angels in December, said he didn’t need to change anything mechanical with his swing. It was more about a mental break and trying to relax.

“I think I got caught up in the mechanics and trying to be something I’m not,” Bour said. “I went down there to play the game of baseball and do what got me here in the first place.”

Manager Brad Ausmus said he imagines Bour’s slump was difficult mentally for him.

“The hardest part is feeling like you’re letting your teammates down, letting the fans down, letting the organization down,” Ausmus said. “There’s a lot of failure in baseball. When you fail to that extent, it can take a mental toll on you as much as anything. I think that happened a little bit to him. As positive as he is – when he came to the ballpark every day, he always seemed to be extremely positive, in a positive frame of mind – it can eat at anyone.”

The Angels sent Bour down shortly after Shohei Ohtani returned, because having Ohtani and Albert Pujols in the lineup didn’t allow for many at-bats for Bour to find his stroke.

Now that he’s back, Bour is likely to get a shot at the role the Angels had originally envisioned for him. Before Bour was optioned, Manager Brad Ausmus said Pujols would play against the lefties and some of the righties, and Bour would play against the rest of the righties. Ausmus prefers not to use Pujols at first for three days in a row, and a productive Bour would make it easier to accomplish that.

In order to create a roster spot for Bour, the Angels sent down reliever Jake Jewell.

INJURY UPDATES

Justin Upton (sprained toe) was in the lineup for his fourth game with Class-A Inland Empire on Tuesday night, after collecting three hits in eight at-bats, with two walks, in his first three games.

Ausmus said Upton could join the team sometime during their upcoming 11-game trip. The Angels will have eight straight games on artificial turf – at Tampa and Toronto – and they probably want to be careful with Upton playing too much on those surfaces, though. …

David Fletcher (sore left shoulder) was out of the Angels’ lineup for a fourth straight game. Fletcher was available on Monday and Tuesday nights, though, Ausmus said. Ausmus said he hoped to give Fletcher one more day off as a precaution. …

Andrelton Simmons (sprained left ankle) could be getting ready to face some live pitching, Ausmus said. Ausmus said Simmons could join the Angels sometime on their trip, although it’s unlikely he’d be activated. …

Trevor Cahill (elbow inflammation) continues to feel better, but is not likely to be activated to pitch when he’s eligible this weekend, Ausmus said. The Angels have scheduled José Suarez for Saturday.

GOODBYE TIM

Dozens of members of the media, Angels employees, scouts and broadcasters said goodbye to Tim Mead in a short ceremony in the media dining room before Tuesday’s game. Mead, the team’s vice president in charge of communications, was marking his final day after 40 years in the organization. Mead is leaving to become president of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP Tyler Skaggs, 4-6, 4.97) at Tampa Bay Rays (TBA), Thursday, 4 p.m., Fox Sports West, 830 AM

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