Isotopes' Buss drops off six RBIs

Dodgers outfield prospect slugs 11th homer, triples twice

By Josh Jackson / Special to | June 24, 2013 10:25 PM ET

Like most players, Nick Buss doesn't have much trouble deciding on his favorite kind of hit.

"Probably a homer, to be honest with you," he said. "Triples are fun, but nothing beats a home run."

The Dodgers prospect opted for both on Monday night, tripling twice and belting a fifth-inning roundtripper while tying a career high with six RBIs as Triple-A Albuquerque edged Round Rock, 10-9.

"You're just always working at [hitting]," Buss said, "and I was fortunate enough to have a good night."

Typically an outfielder, Buss was the Isotopes' designated hitter against the Express. Matt Kemp -- rehabbing a strained hamstring -- played center field, while Scott Van Slyke -- recovering from shoulder bursitis -- was in left.

Buss watched Kemp walk and steal second in the opening inning. With runners at the corners, the 26-year-old smacked a 1-1 pitch from Round Rock starter Scott Richmond into the gap in right-center field.

"It's always easier after you get that first hit out of the way," Buss said, "but honestly, I was talking it one at-bat at a time after that."

Facing Richmond two innings later, Buss drove in another run with a groundout. In the fifth, Buss got ahead in the count, 3-1, before sending Richmond's next pitch over the center-field fence for his 11th homer of the season.

"It was just a good pitch to drive," Buss said. "Fortunately, I was able to get all of it."

His other two-run triple came in the seventh off big league veteran Nate Robertson. He trotted home on Justin Sellers' single to lift the Isotopes into a 9-9 tie.

"That was fun to be able to get back in the game," Buss said. "And then Sellers had the huge single to score me."

Triples, the University of Southern California product admitted, are typically more suspenseful to watch than home runs. But he had little doubt about the two he delivered Monday.

"The second one took a crazy hop right off the wall, so I knew it," he said. "The first one, I was pretty sure, too, because we have these huge gaps in Albuquerque."

Buss ranks third among active Pacific Coast Leaguers with eight triples and 55 RBIs. He's hitting .293 and is close to eclipsing all of the numbers he posted last year at Double-A Chattanooga, where he batted .272 with eight homers and 57 RBIs. And he had no complaints about handing his defensive duties over to the rehabbing Kemp.

"I wasn't even thinking about it. He's getting his playing time in and it's great having him here," Buss said. "He's a fun guy and he's obviously an awesome player to watch."

Dodgers No. 17 prospect Alex Castellanos also tripled, scored three times and knocked in a run.

Mike Olt, the Rangers' second-ranked prospect, doubled, drew a bases-loaded walk and scored a run for the Express.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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