KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros manager Brad Mills took a verbal spin around the field Friday, pointing out the players who have the upper hand for starting jobs. There is certainly little drama remaining over which players will start in the outfield and the infield, with the exception of right field.
Mills lauded the play of Brian Bogusevic, and said he probably has the upper hand in right field, where Travis Buck, J.B. Shuck and Jack Cust are all in the running. Bogusevic, a left-handed hitter, has struggled this spring, with three hits and nine strikeouts in 29 at-bats.
"I think you almost have to give him the upper hand because of what he has done," Mills said. "I know he's going through a tough time right now. With [Jason] Bourgeois no longer being on this club, that opens a spot all on its own. We're kind of putting things together and seeing how the players are going to complement each other as we move forward."
Bogusevic hit .287 with four homers, 15 RBIs and four stolen bases in 87 games last year, and got most of the starts in right field following the trade of Hunter Pence to the Phillies in late July.
"Bogie has a lot of skills, and the way he played last year at the end of the year showed those skills -- power, average, speed and his arm," Mills said. "To discount that right now because he's gone through a tough last week or two of struggling a little bit offensively, I don't think that's right to do."