Results tagged ‘ Brian Bogusevic ’

Bogusevic has no regrets about time in Houston

Brian Bogusevic, drafted by the Astros in the first round of the 2005 as a pitcher and later moved to the outfield, became a free agent Saturday when the club outrighted him and removed him from the 40-man roster.

Bogusevic, 28, began last season as the Astros’ starting right fielder, but he struggled at the plate all season and wound up hitting .203 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs. He hit .287 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 87 games in 2011.

“It’s definitely a different feeling because it’s the first time I’ve been in this situation, but that’s the nature of the game and everybody is going to go through it at some point,” Bogusevic said.

The Astros also outrighted outfielder J.B. Shuck and right-handed pitchers Jorge De Leon, Chuckie Fick and Arcenie Leon.  De Leon and Shuck cleared waivers and became free agents, while Fick was assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Leon was claimed by the Brewers.

The moves put the Astros’ 40-man roster at 31

Bogusevic was a college All-American two-play player at Tulane when the Astros drafted him with the No. 24 overall pick in ’05. Some teams viewed him as an outfielder, but the Astros saw his future on the mound. He made 77 Minor League appearances as a pitcher (64 starts) and was 14-21 with a 5.11 ERA.

The Astros moved Bogusevic to the outfield in ’08 and he spent nearly two full seasons at Triple-A Round Rock before making his Major League debut in 2010. His career highlight came last year when he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Cubs for his first pinch-hit home run.

Bogusevic said he had no regrets about his time in the organization.

“It was definitely a different experience than most people have,” he said. “But I mean, I was happy with my time there, but it’s time to move on.”

Bogusevic battling for CF spot

Astros manager Brad Mills shed some light on his outfield situation Monday, saying Brian Bogusevic will be given a look in center field because of his athleticism and the presence of Jack Cust and Travis Buck in right field. Bogusevic started most of the games in right after Hunter Pence was traded last year.

Battling Bogusevic for playing time in center are Jordan Schafer and J.B. Shuck, as well as Jason Bourgeois.

“We’re looking at moving Bogie over there and having him get some time in center field,” Mills said. “We’ve got quite a few guys playing those different positions and all are capable, and we’ve seen them have success at some point last year or the year before. It’s going to be fun to see them go through it.”

Mills said they’re looking for Bogusevic to step up and be a starter.

“His ability gives him the opportunity to be able to play center or right, but we want this guy to step up and be an everyday starter for us and there’s reason he won’t be able to,” Mills said. “We all saw what he can do at times last year.”

Cust will play in left and right and will get some ground balls at first base. Top prospect Jonathan Singleton will also get some time in the outfield, Mills said.

Regarding Schafer, Mills said: “He seems like he’s on a mission.”

——

Mills said veteran Livan Hernandez will start the team’s Grapefruit League opener Saturday against Washington, his former team. Left-hander J.A. Happ will start Sunday against the Nationals in Viera, Fla. The rest of the rotation remains up in the air.

Schafer’s return clogs center field picture

Jordan Schafer, the lone Major League player the Astros got in last month’s trades with the Giants, Phillies and Braves (pitcher Henry Sosa has since made his Major League debut) will be activated from the disabled list today and will likely in the starting lineup for his Astros debut when the Astros open a three-game series at Colorado tonight.

Schafer injured his finger sliding into a base on July 20, while he was still with the Braves, and went 10-for-20 in five games during his Minor League rehab at Oklahoma City. Once the top prospect in the Braves system, Schafer has a career .223 average in 577 Major League at-bats. He doesn’t have much power (three home runs), but he certainly can run and cover ground in center field. He has 17 steals in 102 games.

The debut of Schafer probably means less playing time for Jason Bourgeois, who had a terrific first half when he was healthy. Bourgeois took over in center when Michael Bourn was sent to the Braves on July 31 and he’s batting .155 (9-for-58) in 16 games since. He stole two bases on the day Bourn was traded, but hasn’t had a stolen base in August.

If Bourgeois had been posting the kinds of numbers he did in the first half, manager Brad Mills would have a tough decision. Perhaps Bourgeois is better fitted for a reserve role, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Having Bourgeois available to pinch run late in a game will be a huge weapon. J.B. Shuck has also seen time in center recently, but he’ll likely split time in right field with Jason Michaels (against left-handers) and Brian Bogusevic (against right-handers).

Needless to say, the Astros are eager to see what Schafer can do.

Bourgeois or Shuck will grab final outfield spot

Unless the Astros acquire another outfielder in the next week, Jason Bourgeois or J.B. Shuck will begin the season as the fifth outfielder. Bourgeois served in that role for a time last year, and even started 11 games in center field at the end of the season when Michael Bourn went on the disabled list.

The two have emerged as the only candidates to win the final outfield spot after Brian Bogusevic was optioned to Minor League camp on Thursday. Bourgeois has certainly had a strong camp, entering Thursday hitting .314 with four stolen bases. The fact Bogusevic swings the bat from the left side was a bonus for him, but Bourgeois’ good spring couldn’t be ignored.

Shuck is somewhat of a surprise to still be at camp. A non-roster invitee, he’s a career .303 average in the Minor Leagues, but he’s only played 36 games above Double-A. He bats left-handed and can play all three outfield positions.

Astros general manager Ed Wade said the role of a bench player, such as what Bogusevic was going to be asked to play, is difficult for a young player.

“The bat-off-the-bench role is tough for a young guy to roll himself into,” Wade said. “They’re used to get 375, 400 at-bats at the Minor League level and maybe get called up and still be sharp and game ready. It becomes much more difficult when you get four or five at-bats a week at the big league level and understand what the level of preparation is associated with that.

“We’re fortunate here that we have a guy like Jason Michaels who’s done it and can help mentor younger players, if we have a young guy filling that role. We recognize it’s a tough one to fill, and we felt the right thing for us right now was to let Bogie go play and figure that one out down the road.”

When asked about Shuck in that role, Wade said: “It’s held against the same backdrop. That’s a tough job. J.B. makes a really good contact, he can bunt, he’s an above-average runner and can play all three defensive positions. He’s still in the mix.”

The decision to send Manzella to the Minors was somewhat surprising, considering he was hitting .278 this spring and is a polished defensive player. What probably worked against Manzella — last year’s Opening Day shortstop — was his lack of experience at third base and second base. 

His departure leaves four infielders — Matt Downs, Anderson Hernandez, Angel Sanchez and Oswaldo Navarro — battling for two spots. Downs might have the upper hand because he can play anywhere and has swung the bat well, but Hernandez can also be moved all over the diamond and is a switch-hitter. Sanchez is out of options and performed well last year with the Astros.

“We’ve got things to figure out,” Wade said. “One would say your big decisions are made. You’ve decided who your fifth starter is, you’ve decided who your closer it, you’ve decided this, that and the other thing. The fact of the matter is we recognize the importance of the composition of the bench and what opportunities it provides for [manager Brad Mills].

“In call candor, we’re going to be guided by what Millsie feels is appropriate with the composition of the bench because he’s the one that will look down there and make sure that,, as best we can, we’ve provided him the pieces to make effective moves late in the game.”

Taking a shot at the Astros 25-man roster

We are roughly halfway through Spring Training and the roster picture is pretty much as cloudy as it was when camp opened a month ago, and perhaps even more so with the injury to catcher Jason Castro. With so many bodies still in camp, it’s been difficult to determine which players might have the leg up, but that will not deter me.

Here’s my guess on what the Opening Day roster will look like:

CATCHERS (2)

Humberto Quintero

J.R. Towles

Comment: The Astros could still bring in another catcher in time for Opening Day, but for now I’m going to limit my prediction to the players that are still in camp.

INFIELDERS (6)

Brett Wallace (L)

Bill Hall

Clint Barmes

Chris Johnson

Matt Downs

Tommy Manzella

Comment: I still believe Wallace is going to win the first base job. Downs has looked good in camp and could bring some pop and versatility off the bench. Manzella has broadened his defensive scope and has looked good at the plate so far this spring. Angel Sanchez could still play his way into the mix, but his defense is an issue. Anderson Hernandez has played well, too.

OUTFIELDERS (5)

Carlos Lee

Michael Bourn (L)

Hunter Pence

Jason Michaels

Brian Bogusevic (L)

Comment: The only spot up for grabs is the fifth outfield spot. Bogusevic probably has a leg up on Jason Bourgeois because he hits left-handed. He runs pretty well too, but not as well as Bourgeois, who could also play second base.

STARTING PITCHERS (5)

Brett Myers

Wandy Rodriguez (L)

J.A. Happ (L)

Bud Norris

Ryan Rowland-Smith (L)

Comment: The fifth spot in the rotation remains completely up for grabs. Right now, I go with Rowland-Smith over Jordan Lyles, who has looked good but is still 20 years old and has barely had his feet wet at Triple-A. Nelson Figueroa makes the club as the long reliever.

RELIEF PITCHERS (7)

Brandon Lyon

Wilton Lopez

Fernando Abad (L)

Jeff Fulchino

Nelson Figueroa

Mark Melancon

Henry Villar

Comment: At this point, I see Lyon, Lopez, Abad and Figueroa as locks. Fulchino is healthy and pitching well, and Melancon appears to have a good chance. The last spot? Completely up for grabs. The injury to Alberto Arias may give some other guys a chance, and Villar as pitched well. Don’t count out Sergio Escalona or Enerio Del Rosario.

Spring brings optimism for Wade

When general manager Ed Wade met with some members of the media earlier this week to address the team’s arbitration stance, the discussion didn’t stop there. Wade addressed a number of other topics, including the state of the Major League club, Jeff Keppinger and the young players who will play a huge role in 2011.

Here are Wade’s answers to some of those questions:

On the state of the club: “We like our club. I said when the offseason began that we didn’t expect it to be a headline-busting offseason for us. We very specifically had some things in mind. We replaced the middle of our infield with Bill Hall and Clint Barmes coming on board. We think those are some really good steps in the right direction for us. We’ve created competition for the fifth starter’s spot and we did things that did not create an environment where we could stump the progress of the young guys who came on last year and got their feet wet at the big-league level. We had a good four months last year, the last four months. We need to figure out a way to get off to a better start, and the things we tried to do this offseason were to give us every opportunity to do that.”

On having so many young players in key roles: “People stay away from the phrase ‘rebuilding,’ but I think good franchises are always in some type of rebuilding mode because that means you’re bringing players through the system or have acquired younger players who have begun to establish a new core nucleus of your club. I think it’s a process you have to go through frequently, and I think the fact a number of guys were up in early, late June last year and joined the organization at the trade deadline in July, they should benefit from the experience they had a year ago. I know people look at our club and say they’re not a lot of veterans around and where does our leadership come from, and at some times it’s the mental make up of the younger players, who recognize they have a great opportunity not only to produce on the field but have a presence in the clubhouse. We have a number of players who have indicated a willingness to do that and feel refreshed with the opportunity to step up and show what they’re capable of doing both on the field and in the clubhouse.”

On the progress of Jeff Keppinger, who underwent surgery on his left foot Jan. 14: “When the surgery was performed, the specialist who did the surgery in North Carolina indicated the normal process would call for probably a three-month rehab before he’s running aggressively, and that takes us probably into early or mid-May if everything is moving in a straight line. Keppinger has indicated through Nate Lucero, our trainer, he’s feeling great right now and if we could shave some weeks or months off that rehab schedule, that would be great. It would be dictated by the progress he makes and what the doctors tell us.”

On which players he’s most anxious to see this spring: “Brett Wallace has been talked about a lot from the standpoint of this is a golden opportunity for Brett to step up and win the first base job when he gets to Spring Training, and he’s got to do that because we know we’ve got alternatives. We know we can play Carlos Lee at first base or Brian Bogusevic coming through the organization with the ability to play over there. I think, again, Brett is one of those young guys who will benefit from having been here the second half of last season and find out you have to make adjustments at the big-league level. Every successful young player is challenged at the big league level and the ones who remain successful are the ones who make adjustments. I’m anxious to see him and anxious to see J.A. Happ in our uniform all year long. I think we saw a real good sample of what he’s capable of doing by what he did a year ago. I’m looking forward to seeing the guys who we were counting on to show whatthey’re capable of doing over six months, primarily our outfield trio. Hunter [Pence] and Carlos got off to tough starts last year and came on strong, and I would anticipate you’re not going to see those slow starts again. I’m anxious to see Chris Johnson at third base and given the opportunity to go out there and build on the type of season he had. Newness is always great, and I’m anxious to see the two new middle infielders [Barmes and Hall] as well. I guess what I’m saying is I’m excited to see everybody when I get down there.”

On the top prospects coming to Spring Training, including RHP Jordan Lyles: “The message delivered to these younger guys when we call them up is you’re not going to make the club out of Spring Training. No matter how many times you say that, they’re going to come in and try to make the club. Sometimes we’re reluctant to bring in younger guys like that, but we thought creating an environment for Jordan Lyles, who probably does have a chance to make our club, and some of these other younger guys, it gives them a chance to see what a big-league environment is all about and, in all candor, gives us a chance to pump our chest a little bit that we’ve got a substantial number of young guys who are on the near horizon and have a chance to help this club in the not-too-distant figure. And why not bring them in and show them off and get them in shape and send them back to Fred Nelson on the development side and put them in the right spot to continue their development?”

 

Astros position breakdown: outfield

OUTFIELD

2010 Opening Day starters: LF Carlos Lee, CF Michael Bourn, RF Hunter Pence.

2010 end-of-season starters: LF Carlos Lee, CF Michael Bourn, RF Hunter Pence.

Others who were in the mix: Brian Bogusevic (LF-CF-RF), Jason Bourgeois (LF-CF-RF), Jason Michaels (LF-CF-RF, Cory Sullivan (LF-RF-CF).

Combined 2010 stats of Astros outfielders: .261 BA/.317 OBP/.401 SLG, 93 doubles, 51 homers, 217 RBIs, 156 walks, 316 strikeouts, 1,917 at-bats.

Free agents: None.

Arbitration eligible: Bourn and Pence.

What happened: The Astros went into last season feeling good about what they had in the outfield with Carlos Lee returning in left, Michael Bourn returning in center and Hunter Pence returning in right. Lee had averaged 30 homers and 100 RBIs in his first three seasons with Houston, Bourn was named the team’s MVP in 2009 and won a Gold Glove and Pence was coming off his first All-Star appearance. The three held down the starting duties, but not without some road bumps.

Lee, who started 133 games in left field, struggled out of the gate and hit .183 in April with no home runs. He had only five homers at the end of May and wound up hitting .240 in the first half with 12 homer and 45 RBIs, helping put the Astros in a hole. He came around in the second half with a .254 average to go along with 12 homers and 44 RBIs to finish with 24 homers and 89 RBIs, his lowest totals with Houston. He split time before left field and first base in September as the Astros wanted to get a look at him at first defensively.

Bourn, who started 133 games in center, picked up where he left off in 2009 and got off to a quick start, hitting .311 in April. His average slowly began dipping as the season wore on. He hit .245 in May, .252 in June and .185 in July with an on-base percentage of .271. Bourn was enjoying a great finish – he hit .229 in his final 17 games – before his season ended two weeks early with an oblique strain. He hit .265/.341/.356 with 52 stolen bases and had another Gold Glove-caliber season in center field.

Pence, who started 155 games in right, joined Lee in getting off to a slow start. He hit around .230 with two homers and seven RBIs in April before coming around in May, batting .302 with six homers and 16 RBIs. After hitting .263 before the All-Star break, Pence hit .302 in the second half and finished with 25 homers for the third year in a row and 91 RBIs to lead the team. He was up and down defensively.

Jason Michaels, the fourth outfielder, had a solid year in a backup role and parlayed that into his option being picked up for 2011. He hit .253/.310/.468 with eight homers and 26 RBIs while playing all three outfield spots. He had two pinch-hit home runs. Jason Bourgeois, a speedster who doesn’t hit for a high average, got the bulk of the playing time in center in the final two weeks with Bourn on the shelf. The Astros got an abbreviated look at former No. 1 pick Brian Bogusevic, the pitcher-turned-outfielder who made his Major League debut. Cory Sullivan began the year as the fifth outfielder but was let go in the middle of the season.

What’s next: Lee, Bourn and Pence are all back in 2011, barring a trade. Lee will be in the fifth year of his six-year, $100-million contract (he has a limited no-trade clause this year) and Bourn and Pence are eligible for arbitration. But not all three could return as starters in the outfield. The Astros are going to give Lee another look at first base in Spring Training next year, with the hopes Brett Wallace – acquired in the Roy Oswalt trade – does enough to warrant winning the first base job and keeping Lee in left field.

If the Astros deem Wallace needs more time in the Minor Leagues, they will stick Lee at first base. That’s why they’re on the lookout this winter for a left-handed hitting left fielder they could use in a platoon situation with Michaels. The decision on which player opens at first base won’t unfold until later in Spring Training.

The Astros are banking on Bourn and Pence to pick up where they left off at the end of last year and have the best offensive seasons of their careers. Lee had a down season in 2010 and would certainly give the club a boost if he can return to his 2007-09 form as a reliable run producer. Bogusevic and Bourgeois will get a look as backup outfielders, but don’t be surprised to see a Minor League player make a push during the spring.

Who’s on the farm: The Astros are starting to see the fruits of their last several drafts pay off in the outfield, where an impressive group of young outfielders is emerging.  The club is high on Jack Shuck, who had a bang-up season for Double-A Corpus Christi before finishing the year at Triple-A Round Rock. T.J. Steele had turned some heads before injuries slowed him down last season, and players like Jon Gaston, Jay Austin and J.D. Martinez could be ready for the Majors soon. Martinez was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year after he hit .341 with 40 doubles, 18 homers and 89 RBIs combined between Class A Lexington and Double-A Corpus Christi, where he finished the season. He was named the South Atlantic League’s Most Valuable Player and was a midseason and postseason All-Star.

Bogusevic makes first start for Astros

The Astros are working on Labor Day, facing the Cubs this afternoon in the first game of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who has a 0.98 ERA since July 25, gets the start for Houston against right-hander Casey Coleman, who’s making his fourth career start.

Former first-round pick Brian Bogusevic makes his first career start for the Astros, betting sixth and playing left field.

“It’s real exciting and I’m looking forward to getting a chance to play, and I can’t wait to get out there,” Bogusevic said.

Here are the lineups:

ASTROS

CF Michael Bourn

2B Jeff Keppinger

RF Hunter Pence

1B Carlos Lee

3B Chris Johnson

LF Brian Bogusevic

SS Matt Downs

C Jason Castro

P Wandy Rodriguez

CUBS

3B Jeff Baker

2B Blake DeWitt

CF Marlon Byrd

C Geovany Soto

1B Xavier Nady

RF Tyler Colvin

LF Alfonso Soriano

SS Darwin Barney

RHP Casey Coleman

 

Astros call up 5 players, including Bogusevic

Former first-round draft pick Brian Bogusevic, who was drafted by the Astros in 2005 as a pitcher before transitioning to the outfield in 2008, is among five Minor League players who will join the team Wednesday, the first day rosters can be expanded beyond 25 players.

The Astros announced Tuesday that Bogusevic, infielder Matt Downs, right-handed pitcher Henry Villar and left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright would be recalled. The club will also purchase the contract of catcher Brian Esposito. Bogusevic and Villar will be making their Major League debuts.

Bogusevic, 26, hit .278 with 13 home runs, 26 doubles, 57 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 130 games for Triple-A Round Rock. This is his second full season as a position player after being drafted as a left-handed pitcher out of Tulane University.

Downs, who was recently claimed off waivers by the Astros, appeared in 29 games for the San Francisco Giants this year, primarily as a second baseman, and hit .244. In three Minor League stops this season with Round Rock, Triple-A Fresno and the Rookie Arizona League Giants, Downs has combined to hit .244 with seven homers and 32 RBIs.

Villar, 23, is 4-7 with a 4.15 ERA in 36 games, including 11 starts, at Double-A Corpus Christi, and Wright will be making his third appearance on the Astros’ roster. He has made 10 appearances, including four starts, overall for the Astros in 2010, posting a 1-2 record and a 6.28 ERA in 15 games, including 14 starts.

Esposito will be the third catcher on the roster after hitting .205 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 58 games with Round Rock and Corpus Christi this season. He is a veteran of 11 professional seasons, but has played in only one inning of a Major League game and has not had an at-bat.

To make room for Esposito on the 40-man roster, the club will transfer right-handed pitcher Brian Moehler from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Moehler is scheduled to go undergo season-ending surgery his lower abdomen Wednesday in Philadelphia.
 

Wright, Bogusevic suffer minor injuries

Astros pitcher Wesley Wright and Minor League outfielder Brian Bogusevic both suffered minor injuries while playing winter ball this week.

Wright, who is being converted to a starter in the Dominican Winter League, took a line drive off his heel while pitching Thursday night and underwent X-rays. General manager Ed Wade said the club may bring the left-hander to Houston soon to be examined by team doctors.

“He was due to come back here at some point before Christmas, and we may accelerate that and get him back here and checked out,” he said.

Wright was 0-2 with a 3.58 ERA in seven starts for Este. In 32 2/3 innings, he’d allowed 27 hits, 16 runs (13 earned), 20 walks and struck out 38.

Bogusevic, a former first-round pick as a pitcher who has converted to outfield, was examined Friday in Houston by team medical director Dr. David Lintner after he injured his left knee landing awkwardly on first base during a game in Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Wade said the injury is not believed to be serious.

“We thought initially it was a meniscus injury,” he said. “We’re still waiting to find out more, but he’s not going back immediately.”

Bogusevic was hitting .245 with one double and three RBIs in 49 at-bats for Mayaguez.

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Astros pitcher Chris Sampson is playing host to a free baseball clinic from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at his newly opened academy — LoneStar Baseball Academy, located at 204 YMCA Drive in Baytown.

Sampson has invited 50 kids from the Baytown YMCA to a free, private clinic. Children attending will be taught the fundamentals of pitching, hitting and fielding. LoneStar Baseball Academy, which opened Nov. 16, is owned and operated by sampson and former Milwaukee Brewers farmhand. For more information visit www.lonestarbat.com   

 

 

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