JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Peter Bourjos figured a friendly game or two of pingpong would be a good way to introduce himself to the guys on his new team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
He didn't necessarily want to win them all.
"I really didn't want to do that," the smiling Bourjos said. "I was hoping somebody would beat me."
The right-handed hitting centerfielder was acquired by the National League champions as part of a four-player trade that sent 2011 World Series MVP and hometown favorite David Freese to Anaheim. He'll compete for playing time with — or complement — left-handed hitting Jon Jay, who hit .276 last season but only .220 against lefties.
"Any time you walk into a new clubhouse you don't know what to expect," said Bourjos, who spent some time in the batting cage and fielded fly balls. "Everybody's treated me extremely well. They kind of welcomed me right in. I feel like I've been here a couple years."
A .251 career hitter, Bourjos brings the kind of speed to the outfield the Cardinals haven't had lately. That could prove a necessity with less-nimble sluggers Matt Holliday and Alan Craig manning left and right fields, respectively.
"I'm looking forward to seeing that type of player on this club," St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said. "If you think about the elite defense and pure speed element of what he brings, that is something that we are not used to seeing day in and day out."
Manager Mike Matheny prefers to give position players, many of whom come from the north and haven't hit outside of a cage in months, some time to acclimate to their new surroundings prior to forming opinions.
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