Carlos Correa started to look like the All-Star player he is during his first-ever stint in Round Rock.
After a fluke injury with while he was working with his masseuse ended with a broken rib and sidelined him since late May, the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year returned to the field last week with the Express.
“It was a great day,” Correa said. “My swing feels great and it’s right where I want it to be. It’s all about timing. Today was a big step forward. My timing can still get a little better. That takes time. We keep building up from there.”
He didn’t collect a hit in his first appearance on Monday night but went 5-for-7 with a pair of RBIs in the next two home games against the Memphis Redbirds.
He went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts in his only appearance while Round Rock was in New Orleans this weekend.
Correa will stay with the Express for three more games, beginning Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. and is expected to be activated off the 60-Day IL and rejoin the Astros ahead of Friday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“When I get the call-up, I want to be on fire right away,” Correa said. “It was the necessary moment for them to move me to the 60-day IL and give me a little more time to get ready. I don’t have to rush. A couple more games and I should be good to go.”
The circumstances surrounding Correa’s injury are murky.
He said his rib had been hurting before the injury occurred at his house on May 28 and that he gets a home massage every day. He said on the day of the injury, the masseuse pressed on his rib and he heard a crack.
With all that in the past, his focus with the Express is getting his timing down at the pate as quickly as possible.
“My body is 100 percent right now,” Correa said. “I’ve been doing everything they ask me to do. The defense for me is natural. I don’t have to work on it as much as the hitting. But you always want to work on it and keep moving your feet the right wayI’m very optimistic about the way things are going and I’m happy with where I’m at right now.”
As of the league-mandated off day on Monday, Round Rock is a battle with the San Antonio for the PCL American Southern, trailing the division-leading Missions by 3.5 games. Only the top finisher in each division makes the playoffs.
The Express are 6-4 in their last 10 games, while the Missions are on a three-game skid after starting the second half of the season on a seven-game winning streak.
When another Astros’ All-Star was in Round Rock earlier this season, he reiterated the depth of the Astros organization and praised the competitive nature in the Express locker room. Correa could only agree
“I’ve seen it in spring training and I know talent when I see it,” Correa said. “There are a lot of talented players on this team. It shows the depth of the organization. We’ve had a lot of guys get hurt (in Houston), but we have a lot of guys that can get the job done.”
Correa even hinted at returning to Central Texas when his playing days are over.
“I love Austin,” Correa said. “It’s a great city. I don’t know, maybe when I retire, I might move here.”