Guzman showing maturity, deftness at plate

With three-homer game, rookie displays ability to pull out of slumps

August 11th, 2018

NEW YORK -- did not play on Monday or Tuesday in the first two games of the Rangers' series with the Mariners. The idea was to give him time to clear his head and get away from a 2-for-21 skid.

Guzman responded by going 6-for-10 in his past two games, including three home runs in the Rangers' win over the Yankees on Friday night.

"I just needed to get back to trusting myself and having a plan," Guzman said. "Do something different, just go out there, see the ball and hit the ball. I was thinking too much, jumping at the ball and searching for hits."

Guzman admitted he has been a streaky hitter. For example, he hit .324 with a .465 slugging percentage in 25 games leading up to the All-Star break, and .146 with a .208 slugging percentage in 15 games after until the Rangers sat him for two days.

But Guzman has also shown the ability to pull himself out of slumps -- as he did this week.

"He has the ability to understand what he is doing in the batter's box, which is untypical of a young hitter," manager Jeff Banister said. "He is a big guy with a lot of levers and a lot going on. He pays attention and has a good hitter's brain. He logs a lot of information on what pitchers are doing. What I liked last night was the first two home runs were offspeed pitches -- he stayed back and let his hands travel through the zone. The last one, he got a fastball and went the other way."

The three home runs gave him 12 on the season; his career high in the Minor Leagues was 16 two years ago. Guzman is as big as Joey Gallo, but his power is still developing. Friday showed that it's well on its way.

"I feel like I am strong, it's just my swing," Guzman said. "I've always seen myself as an opposite-field hitter and line drives to the gaps. I need to take it step by step. If I try to step it up too much, that's when I lose it. I'm not consistent enough to be a power hitter yet, but the consistency will come with experience and more at-bats."

Waiting for Nomar

, who is on the disabled list with a strained right thumb, was 0-for-4 for Triple-A Round Rock on Friday night. Mazara was used as a designated hitter in his second rehab-assignment game. On Thursday, he went 1-for-2 and played five innings in the outfield.

Mazara, who has been out since the All-Star break, will play two more games at Round Rock this weekend, and then he'll be re-evaluated. The Rangers want to make sure he is ready before bringing him back.

"The at-bats are important, but so is time on the field and his legs," Banister said. "He was down for a long time. He needs to work himself back into baseball shape. We will continue to assess where he is at. It is hard to get back into baseball shape in just four games."

Rangers beat

• Guzman's six home runs against the Yankees are the most by a Rangers player in one season in club history. Dave Hostetler hit five against the Yankees in 1982, and Juan Gonzalez matched that in '96.

• Alex Rodriguez hit 11 home runs against the Angels in 2003. That is the club record for most home runs against any opponent in a single season.

• Mike Minor earned the win on Friday night. He has won three straight, and is 5-2 with a 3.53 ERA in his past 11 starts. During that stretch, he has a 0.99 WHIP, a .214 opponents' batting average and 48 strikeouts against 13 walks.