HOUSTON — Astros catcher Jason Castro continues to make tremendous progress after undergoing season-ending right knee surgery during Spring Training in March to repair a large tear of the medial meniscus and a reconstruction of the ACL.
The 24-year-old Castro, a first-round pick by Houston in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, caught three innings on Friday during an Instructional League game in Kissimmee, Fla., and increased his workload Saturday by catching four innings in a day game.
Manager Brad Mills stated Saturday that he has spoken to Castro and feels optimistic regarding the overall progress of his catcher.
At this point, Castro is scheduled to catch five innings Monday and will likely get additional at-bats as a designated hitter in other games.
“Castro caught four innings today,” Mills said. “The reason he didn’t catch a fifth inning is because the third inning was really long. Sometimes, Instructional League and Spring Training innings can get really extended. I think he had three or four throws to second during the game. He blocked some balls, and so forth. I’m happy to see him get through that. Four is plenty. He is off tomorrow. He’ll come back and catch Monday. The plan is for five. To me, if he only goes four again, that’s fine.
“He’ll catch possibly five and DH the rest of the way to give him some at-bats. That’s the biggest thing. He said he feels much better.
“He’s in good shape.”
The Astros continue to hold a roster spot for Castro in the Arizona Fall League, depending on how his knee responds in the short-run.
Castro told knotmove.com that he’s feeling great and expects to be ready to go when the Arizona Fall League begins on Oct. 4.
“It’s definitely something I want,” he said. “I feel like it would be important for me to get back and get some at-bats. I need to see some live pitching again. I’ve missed the entire year of at-bats. The catching will come. I expect to be catching close to full time in the Arizona Fall League. I am looking forward to getting back in there and competing again. I should be ready to go.”
If everything works out for Castro, he’ll join Astros prospects Chris Hicks, Dallas Keuchel, Jason Stoffel, Josh Zeid, Kody Hinze, Jay Austin and Jacob Goebbert as a member of the Salt River Rafters.
“One of the biggest needs we can address within is a healthy Jason Castro,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said on Saturday. “I think Humberto Quintero, Carlos Corporan and J.R Towles [in his limited opportunities this year] have done well, but there’s no walking past the fact that we feel Castro has a chance to make a big impact on us next year. The early returns out of Instructional League are very positive in that regard.”
Castro hit .205 with two homers and eight RBI over 195 at-bats in 67 games during his rookie campaign for the Astros last season.
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