Bour signed a contract to play for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan on Thursday, Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports. Bour struggled at the plate last season with just a .172/.259/.364 slash line, so it was unlikely that he would gain a spot on a major-league roster in 2020. The 31-year-old will get a chance to work in Japan, though it wouldn't be out of the question to see him return to the United States at some point if he can rediscover his potential.
Bour elected free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Bour endured a tough time in 2019, hitting just .172/.259/.364 with eight homers in 52 games. The 31-year-old has a solid .253/.337/.457 career slash line and could likely still play a role as at least a platoon option next season, but his poor 2019 campaign may require him to take a minor-league deal this winter.
The Angels recalled Bour from Triple-A Salt Lake ahead of Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Red Sox. He struck out as a pinch hitter in his lone plate appearance. Bour has crushed Triple-A pitching to the tune of a 1.104 OPS, but he was only playing in the Pacific Coast League in the first place because he mustered a .183/.269/.387 through 160 plate appearances with the Angels prior to being called up. Unless the Angels decide to shut down Albert Pujols and/or Shohei Ohtani at some point in September, Bour probably won't get many opportunities to improve upon his ugly season-long line.
Bour was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday. Bour will head back to the minors to free up a roster spot for Luke Bard, who was summoned from the minors in a corresponding move. The slugger showed some improvements at the plate during his most recent stint with the big club (.227/.271/.545 in 15 games), though he's still slashing just .183/.269/.387 on the season (160 plate appearances).
Bour is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Astros, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports. Bour had started three of the past four games at first base but failed to record a hit in 12 at-bats. Albert Pujols recently overcame a minor undisclosed injury and looks on track to handle the bulk of the starts at first base now that he's ostensibly healthy again.