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05/18/08 3:44 PM ET

Bourn back to top of the order

Cooper striving to get speedy outfielder on the basepaths

ARLINGTON -- Michael Bourn is back on top.

After dropping Bourn from leadoff to eighth in the batting order the previous two games, Astros manager Cecil Cooper put Bourn back in the top slot for Sunday's game against the Rangers.

"I thought he swung the bat OK the last couple of days, so I'm going to get him back where he belongs and let's see what happens. That's basically it," Cooper said.

Cooper had dropped Bourn last month to take a look at Kazuo Matsui at leadoff, but came back to Bourn because he believes Matsui is more comfortable hitting second. This time, Cooper took a two-game look at Hunter Pence in the leadoff spot before bringing Bourn back. This move was not about Pence.

"This is not about Hunter and how he feels," Cooper said. "This is more about trying to get Michael off and running. We need him to be a prototypical leadoff hitter. This guy's almost automatic when he steals."

Bourn, who entered Sunday's game batting .184 with three homers and seven RBIs, is tied with Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki for the Major League lead with 18 stolen bases. The speedster said it doesn't matter to him where he hits.

"I haven't been here long enough to be able to say [where I should hit]," Bourn said. "You have to go with what the manager says. He's a good manager; he knows what he's doing."

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