On a rehab assignment with the Iowa Cubs against the Zephyrs after having a hamstring injury, Brian Bogusevic was hoping to get back to the major leagues real soon.
However, not even Bogusevic, a former Tulane standout and 2005 first-round draft pick, thought it would be this soon. He played one game, Sunday, and was called back up to the Chicago Cubs on Monday. He thought he would continue his rehab longer.
“It’ll be one of those things, making sure everything’s healthy and getting enough at-bats (while with Iowa),” Bogusevic had said Sunday.
He’d started his rehab stint last week in the Cubs’ rookie league in Arizona.
“It’ll be good to see more advanced pitching (vs. the Zephyrs),” he said.
Bogusevic played 11 innings of the 16-inning game, going 1-for-5. More important, he broke up a double play after walking in the first inning, ran hard to first after grounding to shortstop in the third, and twice ran down to balls hit into the gap from his center field position.
When Iowa manager Marty Pevey filled out his postgame report for Chicago Cubs manager Dale Svuem, he noted all of the aforementioned and that Bogusevic’s “legs looked good.”
Meanwhile, the Cubs traded outfielder David DeJesus to the Washington Nationals. DeJesus is an aging player whose contract is up when the season ends. And with Chicago out of the playoff race, it’s a good time to look at players who may figure into the future.
“(Bogusevic) looked healthy, looked ready, so he got called up,” Pevey said. “It’s good to see him back.”
When he was first called up on June 25, Bogusevic was in the top 10 in hitting in the Pacific Coast League, at .319, with 10 home runs, 14 doubles, 32 RBIs, 50 runs and 16 stolen bases in 78 games and also led the league in on-base percentage (.418). He was off to a solid start with Chicago when he pulled the hamstring against the Oakland A’s on the Fourth of July.
“I was just running after a fly ball, not even full speed, and it just tweaked a little bit,” Bogusevic said.
He was in and out of the lineup, and the game before the All-Star break — on July 14 against St. Louis — he re-injured himself.
He was put on the disabled list the next day, and had been on it ever since.
It was disappointing, he said, because he was encouraged by his play, batting .261 with three doubles, three RBIs and two steals in 13 games.
And, he really wanted to flourish. A pitcher and outfielder at Tulane, the Houston Astros, who drafted him, first tried him at pitcher. That lasted until 2008, when he was switched to the outfield.
He played well in his first real shot at the majors, which came in 2011 with Houston, batting .287 in 164 at-bats spanning 87 games. However, with a bigger opportunity last season — 355 at-bats and 146 games — he batted just .203.
The Astros released him from their 40-man roster, and he signed with Chicago, which sent him to Iowa. Hitting coach Brian Harper then worked on taking the loop out of Bogusevic’s swing.
“With Houston, they wanted him to be more of a power hitter,” said Tulane coach Rick Jones. “But he became a first-round draft choice because he was such a good contact hitter. Now, I think he’s back to that more, but he’s hitting with a little more power.”
Pevey said the big-league team is high on Bogusevic.
“He’s an animal, such an athlete,” Pevey said. “He could have played linebacker (in the NFL). I’m glad he’s in baseball.”
“I just would like to stay healthy, and hopefully I can do some things the rest of the season,” said Bogusevic: