After stealing 18 bases in 19 attempts last year with Philadelphia, Michael Bourn has stolen 17 consecutive bases in this, his first season, with Houston. A native of Houston, Bourn is off to a slow start at the plate, but he's showing more pop, tripling his home run total from last season with three already as an Astro. The 25-year-old recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: You were traded to the Astros from Philadelphia this past winter. Where were you when you heard the news?
Bourn: I was at a friend's house. I was shocked. I had to sit down, because I wasn't expecting it. I'm happy now that I'm here, and I'm trying to make the most of it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You had spent parts of two seasons in Philly. Do you miss it there?
Bourn: Yes. I had a lot of good friends there. But here, I have a lot of good teammates, and we have a lot of good times together. We have a good team, and we have good chemistry. Hopefully, we'll continue to get better.
MLBPLAYERS.com: As you were breaking in with the Phillies, did you see an everyday spot for yourself on that club?
Bourn: I did, but they saw it differently. That's how it goes sometimes in baseball. I'm putting that behind me, and I look forward to being on this team for a while. I'm keeping my eye on the prize.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you think you have played so far this season?
Bourn: It's been a bit up and down. Some things just haven't gone my way, but I've done some good things. I just have to keep fighting. It's a long season. Sometimes it doesn't go your way every day, day in and day out. But I'm working hard, and I'll keep battling. I'm looking to make the most of this. You have to stay strong mentally because the season is long.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You've been successful in all of your stolen base attempts this year. How much goes into a successful stolen base besides just speed?
Bourn: I read pitchers. I look for different techniques when they try and pick me off. I see where they hold their hands when they do go home and if they are leaning back or going forward. I try to look like I'm not doing anything when I take my lead from the base. I want to look relaxed so nobody can tell the difference. I know opposing managers are watching me because that's what they do. I have to be careful not to give anything away by my mannerisms, but I do have a lot going on in my mind. Once I do get to second, then I try and get to third.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you view your role at the top of the Astros' order -- just getting on for the middle of the lineup?
Bourn: We have Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee as our three, four and five hitters. Simply put, I don't think it gets any better than that.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How far do you live from Minute Maid Park?
Bourn: I live in Houston year-round. It's about a 25-minute drive. I live north of downtown, which is where the stadium is.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Were you an Astros fan growing up?
Bourn: Kind of. I watched the games but I didn't watch them all the time. When I think of a fan, I think of someone who is die-hard, and I don't think I fell into that category.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You played baseball at the University of Houston. What kind of baseball program do they have?
Bourn: They have a great program. It starts with the coaching staff. They're good, and they helped me a lot. I learned so much and developed as a player there. Every day I got better, and I'm glad I chose that program.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You were a communications major in college. Is that something that has always interested you?
Bourn: It did. I spent a lot of time split between communications and broadcasting. It was something I enjoyed studying when I was in college.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.