Astros shut down Castro for season

Astros shut down Castro for season
September 17, 2013, 6:45 pm
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GM Luhnow impressed by Jason Castro's bat

With the 2013 season winding down, and the Astros long ago eliminated from postseason play, there didn’t see any reason to try to get injured All-Star catcher Jason Castro back into a game this year.

So the decision was pretty easy. On Tuesday the Astros placed Castro on the 15-day disabled list due to discomfort in his right knee.

“It’s not disappointment. It’s something you can’t really help,” said Castro. “We discussed it, and this is going to be the best option moving forward. There’s only 12 games left, and it’s really something that we wanted to get cleared up before the offseason came and just focus on getting ready for next year.

“We didn’t want anything to linger over the offseason and be something that we have to address during that time instead of focusing on just getting back to playing shape for next season.”

The 26-year-old Castro was having a career year, with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs. Twice this season he was named American League Player of the Week. On the day he injured his knee, Sept. 2 versus Minnesota, Castro was 2-for-2 before being taken out of the game.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said shutting Castro down for the remainder of the season was the right call.

“We’re at the point of the year now where he’s been off enough and he’s still not feeling 100 percent comfortable taking swings,” said Luhnow. “It doesn’t make sense for us to rush him back just to get him into a few games and risk an injury.

"It would have been nice to see that 20th dinger. It’s OK, we’ll save it for opening day next year. “

Castro, who has reached career highs in games (120) and plate appearances (487) this year, had a cyst in his right knee drained on Sept. 3. He appeared in two games since then as a designated hitter.

“The way that everything’s gone since I had it drained, there’s no sign of it in there right now,” said Castro. “We don’t really know if it’s completely gone or it’s shrunken to the point where it’s not even an issue. So we’ll see. That’s something that we’ll address in the future.”

For the season, Castro has been one of the top catchers in the major leagues. He was hitting .276 with 35 doubles. Before this season Castro’s career high in home runs was six in 87 games last season. Castro, who reached the majors in 2010 after being selected by the Astros in the first round (10th overall) of the 2008 draft, missed the entire 2011 season while recovering from a right knee injury.

“He had a great year and I think he took another step forward this year, and I’m really excited about him being around for a long time to come,” said Luhnow. “As a general manger, one of the key pieces that you think about from day one is catching. To get a catcher that not only can give you good skills behind the plate, good leadership with the pitching staff, but produce offensively with Jason did this year. It puts us in a unique position.

“I knew he had the potential to improve as an offensive player. He’s beyond just being a good-hitting catcher. He’s a good hitter for a major league baseball team, period. That’s a good place to be considering he’s young and plays a premium position.”

Castro said he’s ending his 2013 season in a positive frame of mind. He was hitting well before the injury, which doesn’t appear to be serious.

“I think the way that it’s kind of progressed over the past couple of weeks or so has been promising,” said Castro. “I really am confident that it’s not going to be anything that’s going to be an issue. I think this was the right call and it’s going to put me in the best possible situation going into the offseason.

“If we had more time in the season I think I’d be able to come back. Just based on how many games we have left I don’t think that’s going to be possible. I think that’s why we decided to not aggravate it any further and just let the healing process start now.”

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