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11/10/10 6:06 PM EST

Bourn wins second straight NL Gold Glove

HOUSTON -- Michael Bourn was leaving the dentist office Wednesday after having a tooth pulled when Astros general manager Ed Wade called to let him know he had won his second consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove in the National League.

"I told him it's a shame they couldn't preserve that tooth, because they could have put gold in it," Wade said.

Bourn, the Astros' streak-of-lightning center fielder, became only the fifth player in club history to win multiple Gold Gloves, joining third baseman Doug Rader, outfielder Cesar Cedeno, second baseman Craig Biggio and catcher Brad Ausmus. Bourn and Cedeno (1972-76) are the only Astros outfielders to win a Gold Glove.

"You have to put in the work for it," said Bourn, who will pocket a $25,000 bonus for winning. "You have to go out there and continue to play good defense. I don't expect it and they don't just give it to you. You have to earn it, but you have more respect when you win it the first time."

Other winners in the NL were Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and first baseman Albert Pujols, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips and third baseman Scott Rolen, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino and Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo.

Bourn was all over center field at Minute Maid Park this season, running down balls in gaps, charging toward the infield and making diving catches and occasionally scaling Tal's Hill center. He also had eight outfield assists, which were tied for third in the NL among center fielders.

"Michael's second Gold Glove comes as no surprise to anyone who has watched him play," Wade said. "You see the ball leave the bat, and you say, 'No way that one gets caught,' and then Michael runs it down. Some guys make plays look tougher than they are. Michael makes the impossible catch look routine. It's nice to see his hard work get recognized."

Bourn had a bushel of terrific catches last season, perhaps none better than his long running catch in the fourth inning of a July 7 game against the Pirates. Bourn's personal favorite was his over-the-shoulder catch at Milwaukee on June 29, which robbed Jim Edmonds of a hit.

Last year, he credited third-base coach Dave Clark and first-base coach Jose Cruz, who is no longer on the field staff, with helping him improve his routes and jumps. And Bourn singled out Clark and Cruz once again Wednesday.

"The routes you run are the biggest factor in trying to be able to become a good, successful outfielder," Bourn said. "The better routes you run, the easier it is to get to the ball and the more you can stay on your feet. Getting good jumps is a big thing, too. It's always easy to go back on the ball, but it's harder to come up because it's hard to read."

Bourn, 27, appears to have it mastered. He posted a .992 fielding percentage in 2010, making just three errors in 370 total chances. Last week, Bourn was also recognized for his defensive excellence when he was named one of nine winners of the 2010 Fielding Bible Awards, which are selected annually by a panel of 10 baseball experts, including MLB.com's Peter Gammons and Bill James.

"There is no one more deserving than Michael," manager Brad Mills said. "Our fans get an opportunity to watch him each and every day, which is special. It's so nice that he's being recognized by the rest of the baseball world as well."

Just a day earlier, Bourn had sent a text message to childhood friend Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays, congratulating him on winning his first career Gold Glove. Crawford reached the Major Leagues before Bourn and became an All-Star before Bourn made his first Midsummer Classic appearance this year, but Bourn has the leg up on Gold Gloves.

"That was long overdue for him," Bourn said.

Bourn, who had an up and down year at the plate and missed the final 13 games with an oblique strain, said he gave last year's award to his mother and father, who live close to him in Houston. When he's presented with this year's award, he plans to keep it for himself.

"I'm going to keep it in my crib," he said.

Wherever he stashes it, he might want to leave some room for a few more.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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