As he answered why, even with three outfielders on the disabled list and a fourth unable to run earlier this week, speedster Peter Bourjos didn’t get a start, manager Mike Matheny recognized the catch-22 he’s placed on the gifted fielder.
Bourjos hasn’t started, the manager explained, because it’s been difficult to “get him going” without starts.

“We’re in August right now, but we still have a new player (Brandon Moss) that we haven’t seen that much of,” Matheny said. “We’re trying to give Brandon opportunities to get him going, to see the part of him we know is out there. We do know that this is a guy who can be an impact bat for us. Part of it is just getting him some consistency. Then throwing Tommy (Pham) in there — see if we can catch a little lightning from what we he was doing in Memphis. That does create a tough situation for Peter Bourjos.”

Bourjos has gone a month without a hit as the team arrived Thursday night in San Diego, but during that stretch he’s had only three starts. Rookie Pham, fresh from Class AAA where he had a .354 average in the previous month, had more starts this week in the series against San Francisco than Bourjos has had all month. Instead, Bourjos has entered games as the equivalent of a defensive closer.

He mans center in late innings of close games.

“It’s kind of the same role I’ve had all season,” Bourjos said. “You’re in and out of the lineup. You feel like you’re just getting going and then you don’t play for a week. But that’s the role of a bench player. You’ve got to figure out a way to have success just grinding out at-bats putting the ball in play. You get a couple at-bats a week and you’re facing the back end of the bullpen; it’s a challenge.”

Bourjos has seen his average drop to .215 due to a zero-for-17 stretch that has lasted since July 19. Able to cover as much ground as any outfielder the Cardinals have, Bourjos hasn’t ascended to start even with the run of injuries because of sporadic offense, which he and his coaches acknowledge could be the result of sporadic playing time. He contributed a key sacrifice bunt to help produce a tying run Wednesday. On Monday, he tracked down Buster Posey’s launch at the wall in center to secure the win for the Cardinals.

The lack of starts has meant more time to recover.