Justin Bour gained newfound love while injured

Tennessee Smokies first baseman Justin Bour was sidelined for two months with a hairline fracture in his left wrist. He returned on June 19, 2013. (Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover)

By: Nick Roark 

For the better portion of two months, Tennessee Smokies first baseman Justin Bour found himself relegated to catching ceremonial first pitches and observing games from the dugout railing.

A hairline fracture in Bour’s left wrist had the cleanup hitter sporting a cast for over a month and prevented him from being able to swing a bat during that span.

Bour, who suffered the injury on April 19 after being hit by a pitch in Huntsville, characterized the injury as “absolutely brutal” and said life in the dugout was a tough adjustment to make.

“There would be times where I would see some situations where I could be and maybe drive in some runs,” Bour said. “It’s just tough to watch [the games] and not be part of it.”

“We missed his bat,” Smokies hitting coach Desi Wilson said of Bour. “Some guys were pressing a little bit, of course, hitting in the four hole in their first year at Double-A.”

Bour 2

Bour has hit .203 with five home runs and 13 RBI’s since returning to action in Chattanooga. (Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover)

Smokies’ hitters were left with a gaping hole in the cleanup spot with Bour coming off a 2012 campaign that saw Washington D.C. native play in 138 games and hit 17 home runs with 110 RBI’s.

While the early injury slowed down Bour’s production, it did not dampen his desire to make an influential return to the lineup.

“I tried to stay as positive as I could watching from the sidelines,” Bour said. “It helped me to stay motivated to work even harder in the weight room and conditioning so when I did come back I could make an impact and help the team out.”

Bour admitted it took “a little while” to regain the timing in his swing, but his time spent at extended Spring Training equipped him for Southern League action.

“These pitchers are in mid-season form right now so, the week for me in Arizona to get my at-bats and sort of get my foot down and get my timing back, you know that was big,” Bour said.

Since returning to the lineup on June 19, Bour is hitting .203 with five home runs, 13 RBI’s, 12 runs scored, a .770 OPS and a .487 slugging percentage.

Although Bour’s average has been low in the 16 games since returning, his power and position in the lineup has been much needed, according to Wilson.

Bour had his first career multi-home run game versus Jackson on June 24. Bour went 2-4 with four RBI's and two runs scored. (Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover)

Bour had his first career multi-home run game versus Jackson on June 24. Bour went 2-4 with four RBI’s and two runs scored. (Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover)

“He takes pressure off the younger guys,” Wilson stated. “Overall, I see the hitters a lot more relax. They’re in their spots where they need to be.”

Nobody is happier to have Bour back than his teammates. With Bour in the lineup, the team is 19-12 and has gone 10-6 in the second half to posses a two game lead in the Southern League’s North Division. Tennessee also averages one run more when Bour is playing and the team average is nearly 50 points higher with their first baseman batting cleanup.

“He’s a great team booster, a team guy,” Matt Szczur said of his friend and teammate. “I think we’ve got the best lineup in the league with him being at the four hole. Honestly for me, I think he’s going to get a home run every time he comes up to the plate so that’s how much faith I have in him.”

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Bour is also thrilled to be back in the lineup after his two-month stint on the disabled list gave him a renewed passion for baseball.

“When you have that much time off, you start to love the game a little bit more,” Bour said. “It’s that ‘you want what you can’t have’ thing so I have a newfound love for the game and I feel like a kid almost again.”

Bour hopes his refreshed love will carry the Smokies to a second half North Division title and playoff run in September.  As for now, Szczur summed things up appropriately.

“It’s just good to have him back.”

To stay current with all the latest news, follow Smokies on Radio on Twitter and like the Smokies on Radio Facebook page.  Nick Roark is a Broadcast & Media Assistant for the Smokies Radio Network.  You can follow him on Twitter here: NickRoark4.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: 2013 Smokies Feature


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,601 other followers

%d bloggers like this: