Astros part ways with former first-rounder Bogusevic
Outfielder among five players outrighted
HOUSTON -- Brian Bogusevic, chosen by the Astros in the first round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft as a pitcher and later moved to the outfield, became a free agent on 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," said Bogusevic. "But that's the nature of the game, and everybody is going to go through it at some point."
The Astros also outrighted outfielder J.B. Shuck and right-handed pitchers Jorge De Leon, Chuckie Fick and Arcenio 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 an All-American two-way player at Tulane when the Astros drafted him with the 24th 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 in 2011, 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," Bogusevic said. "But I mean, I was happy with my time there, but it's time to move on."
De Leon, 25, pitched last season with Class A Lancaster, appearing in 40 games -- including 14 starts -- for the JetHawks. He went 2-9 with a 7.70 ERA. Like Bogusevic, De Leon also changed positions, having spent four years in the Astros' system (2006-09) as an infielder before transitioning to the mound in 2010.
Fick, 26, combined to post a 4.38 ERA in 20 Major League relief appearances with Houston (18 games) and St. Louis (two games) in 2012. In 47 Minor League appearances this year, Fick went 2-2 with three saves and a 5.09 ERA. Fick was acquired by the Astros on July 27 on a waiver claim from the Cardinals.
Leon, 26, spent his entire 2012 campaign with Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3-2 record with two saves and a 4.38 ERA. It was the third consecutive year he saw time at the Double-A level. Originally a product of the Astros Venezuelan Academy, Leon was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2005.
Shuck, 25, hit .298 with 11 doubles and 33 RBIs in 115 games in a full season for Oklahoma City this year. The left-handed hitting outfielder was originally selected by Houston in the sixth round of the 2008 Draft out of Ohio State, and hit .272 in 37 games with the Astros in 2011.