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Pacific Coast League notebook
Astros prospect making transition from pitcher to hitter
07/19/2010 10:24 AM ET
Brian Bogusevic has 32 extra-base hits this season for the Express.
Brian Bogusevic has 32 extra-base hits this season for the Express. (Jim Redman/MiLB.com)
Brian Bogusevic has heard the Rick Ankiel comparisons the last two seasons. Like Ankiel, Bogusevic is trying to make the transition from pitcher to hitter.

While Ankiel made it look easy, returning to the Majors in three seasons and enjoying success early on with St. Louis, Bogusevic never made it past Double-A as a pitcher and has been forced to redirect the course of his career while still in the Minors.

"It's going well, I guess," Bogusevic said of his 2010 season. "Last year was a big adjustment for me. This year, I haven't spent as much time going from being a pitcher to a hitter than adjusting as a hitter going about my everyday business."

After batting .271 with six homers last season for Round Rock, Bogusevic has improved his stroke this year. The 26-year-old has hit .294 with 10 home runs through 92 games with the Express.

Bogusevic was drafted out of Tulane in 2005, but he didn't make the transition from pitcher to hitter until late in the 2008 season.

Because Class A leagues use designated hitters, Bogusevic had barely picked up a bat in between college and Double-A.

"Any time you don't do something for a couple years, it takes a while to get back into it," he said. "Your body has to get used to playing again every day. It's a different kind of shape you have to be in to play every day. Last year was a big adjustment. This year I seem to be more into it."

Bogusevic credits hard work and extra hours in the cage and in the outfield with his success.

"There's a lot of work to do. You're basically playing catchup," he said. "I've been doing a lot of early work hitting and defensively. I understand I'm behind the learning curve a little bit. I'm not going to shy away from extra work."

Bogusevic said the mental aspect of switching from starting pitching to hitting has been a challenge as well.

"It's hard because you throw all your focus into one game every five days," Bogusevic said. "You're trying to stay focused every five days and go through that grind everyone talks about.

"At the same time, I kind of prepared myself. The two-and-a-half years I was pitching, all the games I wasn't pitching in, I wasn't just sitting there. I was paying attention, trying to learn the game. I did that as much as possible."

With the Houston Astros struggling, Bogusevic and his Round Rock teammates are aware that they have a chance to impress the parent club enough to work their way into its plans sooner rather than later.

"Everybody who's at the Triple-A level feels they're close to an opportunity," he said. "But if the big league team is not going the way they thought they were and there are moves going to be made, I think everyone feels encouraged."

In brief

Closing time: Memphis RHP Fernando Salas extended his scoreless streak to 21 games on Saturday night when he picked up his 17th save in a 5-3 win over New Orleans. The Redbirds closer hasn't allowed a run in 21 2/3 innings, just one inning shy of Josh Kinney's club record.

Moving up: One year ago, Greg Norton was a backup outfielder/first baseman for the Atlanta Braves. Now he has the title of manager for the New Orleans Zephyrs. He was promoted to replace Edwin Rodriguez, who was called up to the manage to the big-league Florida Marlins.

Sox killer: Portland SS Sean Kazmar has haunted Colorado Springs all season. In 15 games against the Sky Sox, Kazmar has hit .322 (19-for-59) with 12 RBIs.

Running wild: Fresno leads the PCL with 95 stolen bases as a team, even though none of the league's top four thieves play for the Grizzlies. Eugenio Velez (24) and Tyler Graham (23) lead the club, which features 17 different players with at least one stolen base.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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