Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara spent four days with the Express last week as he continued to rehab a sprained thumb that has kept him out of the Texas lineup since the All-Star break.
The 23-year-old outfielder finished with five hits and two RBIs in 12 at-bats and spent three games in the outfield. With Round Rock on a seven-game road stretch, he will shift the rest of his rehab to Double-A Frisco.
“It’s been pretty good,” Mazara said. “I didn’t really care about how I was going to do, I just wanted to make sure my thumb was getting where I wanted it to. The first day was ok and the next two days were a lot better.”
It’s the first time he’s been in Round Rock since 2016 when he started the season with the team and played three games before getting called up to the big leagues. He spent 20 games with the Express in 2015.
In 27 career Triple-A games, Mazara is batting .381 with 40 hits, 19 RBIs and two home runs.
“The biggest difference is that I’m mentally stronger now,” Mazara said. “I have a better plan and I can go out there and do the little things. That’s what has kept me in the big leagues. You have to be able to adjust right away.”
He started the rehab assignment with one hit on Thursday and wrapped it up with four singles, two RBIs and a run scored in a doubleheader on Sunday.
Mazara injured his thumb diving for a catch in right field against the Baltimore Orioles on July 14 and is hitting .272 with 15 home runs, 58 RBIs and one stolen base in 91 big-league games this season.
“It’s still sore, but that soreness isn’t going to go away for a couple weeks,” Mazara said. “But it’s strong enough to play games.”
Mazara, who signed with the Rangers as an international free agent for a then-record $4.95 million and hit a home run in his major league debut, spent pregame on Sunday stretching in the outfield before signing autographs for anybody that asked him.
Even though he has more major league experience than most players in the Round Rock locker room, Mazara still approached his short time with the Express as a learning experience.
“If I can put a big smile on a little kid’s face, I’m gonna do it,” Mazara said. “It makes me happy too. We’ve got some guys that have been (around the game) for 20 years. I just try to learn as much as I can.”