Wallace looks to build off first game back

Wallace looks to build off first game back
June 26, 2013, 5:15 pm
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It doesn’t mean Brett Wallace won’t end up in a slump. It doesn’t mean he’ll never be sent down again. Heck, it doesn’t even mean he’ll finish this season with the Astros.

But Wallace’s two-run triple in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s loss is a good start for the 26-year-old infielder, who’s trying to stick around in the majors.

“It was awesome,” he said in the clubhouse before Wednesday night’s game. “Obviously, getting a chance to be back here was really exciting, so many emotions go through you when you get called back but, getting the chance to come up to bat with guys on base and getting to contribute a little bit, felt good.”

Wallace’s 2013 season started with poor results. He lasted just seven games, going 1-for-24 with two walks and 17 strikeouts, before being sent down.

But with one swing on Tuesday night, he doubled his hit total for the season and knocked in his first two runs. More importantly, that swing might help him keep the confidence he started to build at Oklahoma City.

In 59 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Wallace batted .326 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs. Now, he just needs to translate that success to the big leagues.

While at Oklahoma City, he said the main thing he worked on was his hands; his hitting is completely based on his hands. Once they are working right, he’s much more at ease and doesn’t have to think about it. That’s what happened at Triple A and it’s the same way he felt on Tuesday.

“Once I made that little correction, it’s about going up there and being confident,” he said. “The more you can swing and the more you can not have to think about it, you’re going to play with a lot of confidence and freedom.”

Astros manager Bo Porter was quick to point out that it’s only been one game back for Wallace so far but that Wallace will have the opportunity to prove himself.

“We wanted him to get his confidence back,” Porter said. “He was able to go to Triple A, put together a solid season down there. He’s now back here and we’re going to give him every opportunity to prove that he can play in the big leagues at an everyday level.”

Wallace, of course, isn’t the only guy the Astros have sent back and forth between the minors and the majors. He’s actually one of many.

“I think he’s just at a point in his career where this is his time,” outfielder J.D. Martinez said. “That’s what I think he feels like too. This is his time to really show off.”

Martinez said he’s already talked to Wallace about coming back to the big club. See, Martinez has already done it this year. He started the season with the Astros, was sent down, and has come back to be a contributor with the big-league club.

And when Martinez was sent down earlier this season, it was actually Wallace who spoke with him, which Martinez said helped.

“I remember when I got sent down, I was more embarrassed than anything … and hurt,” Martinez said. “It was more of an ego thing and more of a confidence thing. When you know that other guys aren’t judging you … it helps you out because you know your teammates are there for you.”

In 240 games at the major league level, Wallace has a .243 average with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs. But in parts of five seasons at the Triple-A level, he's batted .308 with 61 homers and 228 RBIs in 374 games.

He just needs to translate that success to the majors.

Easier said than done.

“I know (Wallace) was struggling early in the season and a lot of the times, you come up here and you see it with Jimmy (Paredes),” Martinez said. “You kind of put the big leagues on a pedestal. But it’s kind of a mental thing, more than anything.”

But for now, Wallace's confidence is high. One game back and he already has a triple and a couple of RBIs, not to mention, a little more confidence.

“I’m just trying to build up and keep going,” he said.

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