Guzman doesn't sell himself short
With NL in need of third baseman, veteran plays hot corner
NEW YORK -- Asked on Tuesday afternoon to describe his All-Star experience in New York, Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman didn't hesitate to answer.
"Busy," Guzman said. "The whole day -- busy, busy, busy, busy."
Besides taking batting practice on Monday, Guzman watched the State Farm Home Run Derby. In the contest, he saw the Rangers' Josh Hamilton hit a single-round-breaking 28 home runs in the first round.
Guzman also brought his two sons to the contest. But with them around, he didn't get a lot of sleep. All they wanted to do was play catch with some of the All-Stars.
"Oh, man, it was an honor [to watch]," Guzman said of Hamilton. "How could he take so many swings in one run? It was incredible what he did yesterday."
On Tuesday, as Guzman was preparing for the 79th All-Star Game, he said there was no reason to show any emotions for this special day at Yankee Stadium.
"I'm just going to go there like it's Opening Day," Guzman said. "It's the same."
Guzman changed his tune after the American League defeated the National League, 4-3, in 15 innings. He was excited by the fact that he played errorless ball for six innings at -- get this -- third base.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle put Guzman at third because he didn't want to take Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada out of the game. Plus, Mets third baseman David Wright was the designated hitter, and Hurdle was running out of players.
"He's a good athlete," Hurdle said. "We rolled the dice in the top of the ninth. He handled himself wonderfully. So [Nationals manager] Manny [Acta] knows he has another third baseman if he needs it."
It was the first time that Guzman played the position in his entire life, and he looked like a seasoned veteran at the hot corner.
"In the first inning, I was so nervous," Guzman said. "I never played third in my life. We didn't have anymore infielders. He talked to me and he asked, 'Are you going to play third?' I go, 'Why not?'
"I enjoyed this game -- all the people, including the media. It's incredible. It was a good experience for me. It was the best All-Star Game. I don't recall one being so long."
Guzman entered the game as a pinch-runner for Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez in the top of the ninth, then played six more innings. His best play came in the 11th. White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin ht a ground ball to Guzman's right. The switching-hitting shortstop grabbed the ball and threw out Quentin for the final out of the inning.
So watch out, Ryan Zimmerman?
Guzman laughed and said, "He the best. He's the best."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.