At this time last year, Richie Paz was preparing to start his second season with Alexandria, Louisiana of the independent United League. Now, after racking up a .386 batting average and 17 RBI in 70 at bats for Corpus Christi, Paz, 31, is moving up to Round Rock. Houston is the infielder's fifth professional organization.
Paz is joined on the Express roster by pitcher Jack Cassel, while OF Victor Diaz and IF Lance Niekro have been released.
Cassel was demoted by the Astros after two starts. He pitched 9 2/3 with a 5.59 ERA, filling Wandy Rodriguez's spot in the major league rotation.
Diaz hit .296 in 71 at bats.
Niekro hit .212 in 52 at bats.
The transactions leave the Hooks one short of 24 players for the moment.