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Bourgeois hopes history in NL Central helps this spring

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Outfielder Jason Bourgeois is among the non-roster players in Reds camp this spring seeking a job. Free agents in similar spots are often signing their deals in the days and weeks just before Spring Training opens.

Bourgeois, 32, didn't spend much time guessing the market. He signed his Minor League contract with the Reds early, on Oct. 24, 2013.

"It's been an attractive team to me for the last couple of years because of the atmosphere that they bring day in and day out," Bourgeois said Sunday. "It's been a winning club the last three or four years. It just seemed like a good fit, especially being back in the National League.

"I've had success in this division. I was kind of itching to get back to it."

Bourgeois played for the Brewers in 2009, and 2010-11 with the Astros when they were still in the NL Central. His best season came in '11, when the Houston native batted .294 with a .323 on-base percentage and 31 stolen bases.

During 2012 Spring Training, the retooling Astros traded Bourgeois to the Royals.

"That was a tough situation," said Bourgeois, a lifetime .259 hitter with a .305 OBP. "I really didn't want to leave home. But it is a business. They were doing some things over there, rebuilding wise. The trade was a little shocking. I didn't understand Kansas City's plans for me."

Bourgeois split the 2012 season between Kansas City and Triple-A Omaha. Last season, he spent most of the year with the Rays' Triple-A club in Durham, but played nine big league games and hit .188 (3-for-16).

With the Reds, the right-handed-hitting Bourgeois is hoping to land a spot as the fourth or fifth outfielder. He's comfortable playing at Great American Ball Park, where he has hit .303 (10-for-33) with a .361 OBP.

"I like hitting there. I like playing there," Bourgeois said. "It's good. It's a short ballpark. It's good for defense. I've had some success hitting there. It's a cool little place to play."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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