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Astros Like Bogusevic On Mound

June 7, 2005
By Brian McTaggart

HOUSTON--Tulane lefthander Brian Bogusevic said in spite of his obvious prowess as a position player, he had no interest in developing his talents as a five-tool position player in the pros. The Astros agreed.

Houston took Bogusevic, one of the better two-way players in the nation, with the 24th overall pick. Some teams liked him better as a position player, but Houston definitely prefers him as a pitcher for his athleticism, his competitiveness and his ability to command three quality pitchers.

"He's one of the better athletes in this draft," senior director of player personnel Paul Ricciarini said. "He's a very talented as a legit two-way player, but Brian has taken the decision upon himself to be a pitcher. He's a big, strong, durable lefthanded starter that can give us innings."

Bogusevic, 21, carried a 13-1, 2.72 record into Tulane's super-regional matchup against another Houston team, Rice, this weekend. He started 17 games as a pitcher, and hit .324 with 21 RBIs in 31 starts in the lineup.

"Our expectations of Brian being there were probably less than 50-50, which makes us a little more elated," Ricciarini said. "Without raising expectations, we're excited to have this guy."

Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, along with the Astros scouting department, watched a lot of videotape Monday, but it was Bogusevic that stood out.

"We tracked him and followed him for quite some time, and he is really one of the better pitchers in the draft," general manager Tim Purpura said.

Bogusevic, at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, has a fastball that's routinely between 89-93 mph, along with a solid slider and changeup. He has also been throwing a curveball at times.

Because Bogusevic has played both ways much of the year and his team is playing so deep into the college season, the Astros are concerned about him wearing out and plan to be cautious with him this summer.

"Would it be in his best interest to shut him down after he finishes his college season and then take it slowly from there until he indicates he's ready?" Ricciarini said. "He is a good pitcher that could progress quickly. He's got the intangibles and obviously the physical skills."

Bogusevic is the first lefthander the Astros have selected in the first round since taking Billy Wagner in 1993. The last time they took a pitcher in the first round was in 2002 with Derick Grigsby, whose career is on hold because of depression.

SPACE SHOTS

The Astros used their eighth-round pick on Koby Clemens, son of Roger. The oldest of Clemens' four sons, Koby hit .500 and led the city in RBIs at Memorial High in Houston. He threw two no-hitters but has a future as a third baseman. He has signed with his dad's alma mater, Texas.

The Astros took outfielder Eli Iorg with the 38th overall pick, the supplemental first-round selection they received for losing Carlos Beltran to the Mets. He became their second premium pick from the University of Tennessee in the last five years. Chris Burke, their first-round pick in 2001 and current starter in left field, also played at Tennessee.

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