Express hoping to make second half run after restful All-Star break


Ronald Guzman was glad to get a break, no matter how short it was.

The slugging first baseman and the rest of the Round Rock Express returned to action this week after the All-Star break, refreshed and ready to make a push for the playoffs in the second half of the season.

“I woke up at 3 a.m. to catch the plane (to Memphis) and I felt a lot better than before the All-Star break,” Guzman said. “We needed that and I feel better with my body, and I have a lot more energy. It was a good break.” 

The Express were swept in their first series after the break, losing four games on the road against the Memphis Redbirds, the second time they were swept this season. Round Rock scored just five runs and had 19 hits in the four-game series.

But the bats woke up in their return to Dell Diamond Monday night when they racked up 16 hits and 10 runs, including three home runs in a dominant 10-1 win. Guzman finished the game 3-for-4 with one hot run and three runs scored.

At this time of the year, with the MLB trade deadline just two weeks away, the Triple-A roster can look completely different from night to night. Players might play out of position, forced into spot starts, or be called up or sent down at a moment’s notice.

“It’s part of Triple-A,” Guzman said. “We’ve just got to fight with whatever we have. This is my first full year here. Even if you're a catcher playing third base like Brett Nicholas, he did a tremendous job out there. Everybody does their best.” 

Round Rock has seen its pitching staff get shaken up in the most recent round of roster moves as Tyler Wagner and Ernesto Frieri were both removed from the roster to make room for Adam Loewen and James Dykstra, who earned his first Triple-A win Monday night.

Will Middlebrooks, the team’s active home run leader, is on the disabled list for the second time this season. While the second best masher Drew Robinson was called up to the big leagues before the All-Star break.

Guzman has the best average at .318 to go along with 10 home runs in a team-high 86 games played this season. 

The Express, who are 19.5 back in the American Southern Division, begin a California swing on Friday night, facing off with the Fresno Grizzlies in a four-game set before heading north to take on the Sacramento River Cats beginning on Tuesday. They return to Round Rock Saturday against the El Paso Chihuahuas.

“My family is here so we just stayed at my apartment (over All-Star weekend),” Guzman said. “I got to spend a little time with my little brother and my family so it was good. I was kind of off at the plate the first couple games after the break but I feel good now.”