Bogusevic a quick study after position change
Astros outfielder was once a highly regarded pitching prospect
JUPITER, Fla. -- Drafted in 2005 as a pitcher, Brian Bogusevic hasn't had much time to adjust to his new role as a position player.
But the 28-year-old has made sure to make the most of the little time he has had since the switch.
Although Bogusevic has hit just .271 in two seasons in the Majors since making the switch to the outfield in 2008, the improvement he has made over that time is evident. After posting a .179 average in his first stint in the Majors in 28 at-bats in 2010, the 6-foot-3 right fielder responded by hitting .287 and collecting four homers and 15 RBIs in 164 at-bats last season.
"I had consistent playing time and I started getting comfortable at the plate," Bogusevic said. "Any kind of success that you have gives you something to build off of and gives you a little momentum. It carries over for a while."
The Astros are hoping it carries over for a long while.
It comes as no surprise that Bogusevic's best play as a Major League outfielder came in his most recent stint in the Majors, as the progress he made at his new spot translated into him hitting .305 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 53 games following last year's All-Star break.
"You've seen the progress, and there's no reason to think that he's not going to continue to progress since we moved him from a pitcher to a position player," manager Brad Mills said.
"The more at-bats he gets at this level, in Triple-A or whatever, he has improved. So, when you say added comfort level, I think that has come probably more with just swinging the bat and being more comfortable as a position player more than anything else."
Even though the Astros took Bogusevic as a pitcher with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2005 Draft, that high selection may prove to be a good one in ways the team couldn't predict.
Bogusevic is expected to begin the regular season as Houston's starting right fielder. And although he's new to the position, he hasn't made too many mistakes with his glove in the outfield, as he recorded just two errors there in 53 games last season.
Still, he has the same mentality he carried into Spring Training in 2011: Nothing is given to you. Bogusevic didn't make the club out of Spring Training last year, and the competition for roster spots has him on edge this year, too.
It doesn't help that Bogusevic has struggled at the plate this spring, as he had just one hit in 13 at-bats entering Wednesday's contest.
"I don't know if you ever feel comfortable when there are people competing for spots," he said. "The situation is pretty open, all-around, with almost every spot on the team. I don't think anybody is really comfortable."
But one thing the Astros are comfortable with is the fact that they expect the pitcher-turned-outfielder's numbers to continue to be in direct correlation with his playing time.
"The more time he gets, the better he has been. No doubt," Mills said.
Anthony Chiang is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.