While Jason Michaels, whom the Astros were counting on to be their top pinch-hitting option against righties or lefties, was lost to a separated shoulder, the team gained something else by calling up Brian Bogusevic.
Houston got a little bit of speed.
The outfielder stole 62 bases in 67 attempts (92.5 percent) in the minor leagues since he transitioned from being a pitcher to being an outfielder halfway through the 2008 season. Included in those figures was a perfect 8-for-8 at Class AAA Oklahoma City this year before his call-up Tuesday, and 31-for-32 (96.9 percent) since the start of 2010.
"You look back at last year at Triple-A and look at the success he had as a base-stealer, and it was pretty impressive," Astros manager Brad Mills said.
Bogusevic was just 1-for-2 stealing over a very short sample as a September call-up last year, and he and his manager realize there's a difference between the majors and the farm.
"That's a big jump, so being able to do it at this level vs. the other level, that's part of the learning process," Mills said before the Astros' 6-5 loss to the Cardinals.
Bogusevic is 27, but he's considerably younger than that in baseball age as the Astros see it. The former Tulane two-way star spent parts or all of four seasons as a left-handed pitcher before converting. Even if he were 37, he said he'd be taking the call-up the same way.
"I don't think anybody ever stops learning," Bogusevic said. "You look at guys here like Jason Michaels and Carlos (Lee), and they're watching the game and they're paying attention and trying to take stuff. You can never learn too much in this business."
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