Brian Bogusevic finishing strong after injury-plagued season

The New Orleans Zephyrs would like to finish strongly in their season-ending home series against the Memphis Redbirds and cap the season on a high note.

That goes double for outfielder Brian Bogusevic, who also would like to finish with a flourish in a disappointing season clouded by a 38-game stay on the disabled list.

Bogusevic has gotten a good start toward that good ending, batting .400 (10-of-25) on a seven-game hitting streak heading into Tuesday night’s game at the Salt Lake Bees.

Bogusevic, who is batting .260 this season, has hit .305 (18-of-59) since returning on Aug. 4 from his second stint on the DL.

“The way this season has gone, starting off slowly, getting hurt and not really putting much together, it’s nice to have a little consistency and get consistent time on the field and have a little production,” said Bogusevic, a former Tulane All-American who was drafted in the first round (24th overall) by the Houston Astros in 2005.

His right shin was broken by a pitch against Nashville on May 26. Thinking it was only a bruise, he tried to play through it but went on the DL before returning on June 11. He then played nine games before being sidelined June 22.

Bogusevic’s seven-game streak began Aug. 18, the Zephyrs’ second-to-last game against the Reno Aces. It was one in which he showed why the Miami Marlins obtained him from the Chicago Cubs in an offseason trade.

In the first inning, Bogusevic made a catch of a line drive that could have gone for extra bases. He drew a two-out walk in the sixth inning, then legged it from first to third on a single by Kyle Skipworth. He then scored on a passed ball that went 6 to 8 feet from the plate.

“He can beat a team in so many ways, and that’s why he’s a great guy to have on your team,” Zephyrs manager Andy Haines said. “When he went from first to third, the ball was hit to center field. And scoring from third was a head’s-up play.”

However, the game went into the 11th, tied at 2. Up steps Bogusevic leading off the bottom of the inning. His opposite-field shot carried well, and Reno left-fielder Zack Borenstein leaped to catch the ball on the warning track. However, the ball caromed off his glove and over the wall for a game-winning home run.

“It was a kind of crazy game,” Bogusevic said. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. But I’ll take it.”

Two games later, in the opener at the Las Vegas 51’s, Bogusevic’s two-run single in the ninth sealed a 4-0 victory. Although the Z’s lost the next three games at Vegas, Bogusevic had a double an RBI in Game 2, then went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs and a run in Game 3 before going 2-for-5 with a triple and run in the final game.

He keyed Sunday’s series-opening 8-6 win at Salt Lake by going 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run. He again capped a victory, this time with a run-scoring single in the eighth. He singled in the first Monday, keeping the streak alive.

He was batting just .244 when the streak started, upping his average by 16 points.

“It’s one of those things with the ups and downs of a long season,” he said. “Sometimes you’re hot, sometimes you’re cold. It’s just one of those times where for a week or two, you swing the bat pretty well and some things fall into place.”

Bogusevic thought things were falling into place last season with Chicago. However, a hamstring injury that put him on the DL for five weeks affected that season. He finished batting .273 in 47 games after batting in the .280s much of the season. He’d hit .317 in 79 games with Triple-A Iowa before being called up.

“I felt that I did well before the injury and after,” he said. “These past two seasons are the only time I’ve been on the disabled list, but this one was longer.”

At age 30, Bogusevic knows he isn’t a young prospect any longer. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he is fast and can play all three outfield positions well. However, in 299 major league games, he has hit .236 for his career.

After being obtained in the trade, he batted .170 in spring training with Miami, the reason he is with the Zephyrs. That seemed to carry over into his start with the Z’s.

However, he said he remains confident. And, continuing to ride this current wave could bode well for next season, he said.

“People are looking at you for next year,” he said. “They want to see the way you end up. You don’t want to go limping into the next season.”

Bogusevic has another reason to remember this season. He was selected recently to the Tulane Hall of Fame.

“It was pretty unexpected,” a former pitcher and outfielder wiwth the Green Wave. “From a baseball standpoint, I’ve seen the name of former players who have gone in there, and to be part of that is pretty special.”