03/20/09 12:07 PM ET
Astros make two spring cuts
Manzella, Bogusevic leave camp to get more playing time
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
Both players are projected to be a part of the Astros' future, but the realities of the present forced the club to send them to the backfields of Osceola County Stadium, where they can receive more playing time and get ready for their Minor League seasons.
Manzella appeared in 10 spring games and received 15 at-bats, logging two hits. He was in the running for the backup infielder role, but as a seemingly vital part of next year's club, Manzella wasn't going to make this year's team as a part-time player. He needs to play, and he'll do so when he joins the Round Rock club for the final two weeks of Spring Training.
"I'm relieved I'll get a little more playing time, so I can get ready for the season," Manzella said. "That's the only thing on my mind right now."
Asked how he thought he performed this spring, Manzella gave himself an incomplete.
"To be honest, I really think as far as evaluating myself, I couldn't tell you right now, because I haven't had any consistent at-bats or anything," Manzella said. "So I can't really judge how I feel at the plate. I can tell you I'm not ready to start the season right now, so it's probably a good thing that I'm going down, so I can prepare and get ready for the season."
Manager Cecil Cooper echoed the thought.
"It's been a little hard on Manzella, not getting enough at-bats," he said. "We've got so many middle infielders here, guys who we think are a little bit ahead of him in the pecking order, as far as trying to make the club right away."
Cooper referred to Manzella as "the shortstop of the future."
"Down the road, we're going to need him," Cooper said. "He's shown me enough. I know he can catch the ball at short and play short. We want to get him going where he can go play."
Bogusevic may not be in the picture for Opening Day, but Cooper doesn't think the outfielder will be in the Minor Leagues for long.
"I've seen enough to believe he's going to hit at the Major League level," Cooper said. "He's a very good hitter. The ball comes off his bat, he's got baseball instincts, he knows how to run the bases. He can steal bases. He's going to be a good player. You'll see his name popping up soon." Bogusevic, who was converted from a pitcher to an outfielder last year, hit .250 [7-for-28] over 17 spring games.
Cooper estimated Bogusevic, who is likely ticketed for Triple-A to start the season, would play three to four times a week in center this year, while also receiving a few starts at the corners.
Bogusevic said he appreciated the overall experience of being in Major League camp and pinpointed the few starts he received as the highlight of his spring.
"It was the three or four games, that I had a chance to start and play the whole game," Bogusevic said. "It's different when you come in the seventh or eighth inning and back a guy up. When you're in the lineup and you're playing the full nine [innings], it's kind of a different experience you're much more into it."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.