Results tagged ‘ Jason Castro ’

Villar benched by Porter

Astros manager Bo Porter pulled starting shortstop Jonathan Villar in the third inning of Tuesday’s 9-6 loss to the Twins for what the skipper described as an ill-advised base running gaffe with his team trailing, 4-1.

Villar led off the third with a single to left field, but he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double. Marwin Gonzalez played the rest of the game at shortstop while Villar watched the final nine innings from the bench.

“I learned this a long time ago from Sandy Alomar,” Porter said. “He told me the scoreboard is the most important object on the baseball field. I explained this to Jonathan after the game.”

What did Porter tell Villar exactly: “’I would never want to take your aggression away from you. It’s part of what makes you a special player, but at the same time you have to be aware of the situation that’s going on and what’s the score.’ We have a starting pitcher out there who has basically labored for three innings, we’re down, 4-1, and get the leadoff man on and that’s not a time to take that kind of a chance.”

Earlier this season, Porter benched outfielder J.D. Martinez for swinging at a pitch in a situation in which the hitters had been instructed not to swing. Porter said Tuesday pulling Villar was a “no-brainer.”

“As the umpire was calling him out at second base, I was telling Gonzo to get ready to go to shortstop,” Porter said. “I believe that Jonathan will receive the message properly because him and I talked about it. I think it will help him moving forward.

“He’s young, he’s aggressive and I told him, ‘Your aggression is what allows you to be an impact player. But at the same time, that scoreboard is the most important object on this field and you have to understand there are times when the scoreboard will dictate to you exactly how aggressive you should be.’”

Grossman suffers oblique injury

Astros left fielder Robbie Grossman had to be pulled from Tuesday’s game in the middle of his at-bat in the 12th inning after suffering a strained right oblique while swinging the bat. It’s unclear the extent of the injury.

“It just bit me on the swing,” said Grossman, who went 2-for-5 and is hitting .322 since he was called up for the second time July 28. “We’ll see how it feels [Wednesday] and go from there.”

Astros manager Bo Porter noticed Grossman grimace on the swing and sent assistant athletic trainer Rex Jones to the plate to check on the rookie. Matt Pagnozzi, acquired by the Astros in a trade late Monday, took Grossman’s place in the box and grounded out to end the game.

Grossman said he had a similar injury a few years ago.

“At this stage of the season, you just don’t want to end up having a guy miss a considerable amount of time,” Porter said. “It was best to get him out at that point and allow the trainers to do everything they can to get him healthy.”

Castro has cyst in knee drained

All-Star catcher Jason Castro has a cyst on his right knee drained on Tuesday and doesn’t expect be sidelined long-term.

Castro, who was taken from the game in the second inning Monday following his second hit, was examined by team doctors on Tuesday and diagnosed with a cyst on the medial side of his knee. After having it drained, Castro said he was already feeling better.

“It was kind of interfering with my hamstring tendon based on where it was located,” he said. “They drained it, and hopefully that should provide some relief. We’ll see. It’s just day-to-day, I guess.”

Castro, who missed the entire 2011 season following surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, said he fouled a ball off his knee in the first inning Monday, which aggravated the cyst.

“I think that kind of getting it taken care of and getting it drained out and tended to will solve the problem,” he said. “Like I said, it’s a day-to-day kind of thing. As of right now, it’s feeling OK and the more time we get away from it happening [Monday] the better it feels. As the day goes on, it feels better and better.”

Castro, an All-Star this season and two-time American League Player of the Week, is having a career season, hitting .282 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs. He’s the latest in a string of catching injuries for the Astros.

Carlos Corporan suffered a concussion Aug. 19 when he took a foul ball of his facemask, and his replacement, Max, Stassi, was hit in the head by a pitch two days later and hasn’t played since because of a concussion. Corporan could return to the Astros on Monday.

Castro injury not series as Astros bolster depth

Looking to bolster their catching situation following a string of injuries, including a knee injury to starter Jason Castro, the Astros on Tuesday acquired Matt Pagnozzi from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for cash considerations.

Castro, who left Monday’s game with a sprained right knee, underwent an MRI on Tuesday that showed a cyst on the medial side of his right knee, which is the same knee on which he underwent surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament in 2011. General manager Jeff Luhnow said Castro is day-to-day.

“We’re breathing a sigh of relief on that,” he said. “It’s a lot better than it could have been.”

Pagnozzi was expected to be in uniform for Tuesday night’s game against the Twins after finishing up the season at Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. He has appeared in 33 Major League games in his career with St. Louis (2009-10), Colorado (2011) and Pittsburgh (2011) and is a career .310 (22-for-71) hitter with 13 RBIs.

“I’ve got some history with him from my time in St. Louis and so does [catching instructor Jeff] Murphy,” Luhnow said. “He’s an excellent defensive catcher with time in the big leagues with a couple of different clubs, and it’s good fit for us for our catching depth.”

To make room for Pagnozzi on the 40-man roster, the Astros will transfer Edgar Gonzalez to the 60-day disabled list.

Castro, an All-Star this season and two-time American League Player of the Week, is having a career season, hitting .282 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs after going 2-for-2 with two RBIs on Monday. He suffered his injury running the bases in the first inning.

The Astros have two catchers on the seven-day concussion disabled list – Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi. Corporan was injured Aug. 19 when he took a foul ball of his facemask, and Stassi was hit in the head by a pitch two days later and hasn’t played since.

Luhnow said Corporan could see game action later this week.

“Corporan is further along than Stassi, and hopefully we’ll get Corporan into game situations later this week, either it’s with an affiliate or in Houston,” Luhnow said. “We’re feeling optimistic he’ll e back in competition later this week. Stassi has one more hurdle left and until he clears that milestone we’re in a holding pattern.”

Stassi has said in recent days he hasn’t been able to pass his balance tests.

Cody Clark, a 31-year-old who was called up Aug. 23 after 11 years in the Minor Leagues, replaced Castro and went 0-for-3 on Monday, dropping him to 0-for-13 for the season. The Astros didn’t call up a third catcher when rosters expanded. Their Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City and Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi are both going to the playoffs.

Astros acquire Pagnozzi to bolster catching depth

Looking to bolster their catching situation following a string of injuries, including a knee injury to starter Jason Castro, the Astros on Tuesday acquired Matt Pagnozzi from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for cash considerations.

Pagnozzi was expected to be in uniform for Tuesday night’s game against the Twins. He has appeared in 33 Major League games in his career with St. Louis (2009-10), Colorado (2011) and Pittsburgh (2011) and is a career .310 (22-for-71) hitter with 13 RBIs.

To make room for Pagnozzi on the 40-man roster, the Astros will transfer Edgar Gonzalez to the 60-day disabled list.

Castro was scheduled to be examined by team doctors Tuesday after leaving Monday’s game with a sprained right knee — – the same knee he had surgically repaired in 2011. He suffered the injury running the bases in the first inning, but it’s not believed to be serious.

Castro, an All-Star this season and two-time American League Player of the Week, is having a career season, hitting .282 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs after going 2-for-2 with two RBIs on Monday. Even if Castro only has to miss a few days, the Astros needed some reinforcement at the position.

The Astros have two catchers on the seven-day concussion disabled list – Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi. Corporan was injured Aug. 19 when he took a foul ball of his facemask, and Stassi was hit in the head by a pitch two days later and hasn’t played since.

Cody Clark, a 31-year-old who was called up Aug. 23 after 11 years in the Minor Leagues, replaced Castro and went 0-for-3 on Monday, dropping him to 0-for-13 for the season. The Astros didn’t call up a third catcher when rosters expanded. Their Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City and Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi are both going to the playoffs.

Castro named AL Player of the Week

Astros catcher Jason Castro was named on Tuesday as the team’s first American League Player of the Week.

Castro hit .579 (11-for-19) with one double, three home runs, five RBIs and five runs scored in six games for the week that ended Sunday, including a 10-for-12 stretch in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Oakland A’s.

Castro is the first Houston player to be honored as Player of the Week since Hunter Pence was named NL Player of the Week in September, 2010. Castro led the Majors in batting average, slugging percentage (1.105) and on-base percentage (.636), was tied for fourth in homers and was tied for fifth overall in total bases (21).

On Monday against the Kansas City Royals, the 25-year-old launched his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot in the third inning as the Astros went on to defeat the Royals, 6-5, at Minute Maid Park. After drawing a walk in a pinch-hitting appearance in a loss to Kansas City on Tuesday, Castro and the Astros bounced back in the rubber match between the two Clubs on Wednesday with a 3-1 victory.

The California native shined on the offensive and defensive sides, going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored at the plate, while throwing out a pair of base runners in the latter half of the contest to help seal the win for Houston.

On Saturday, the Stanford University product combined with teammate Matt Dominguez to launch a pair of homers each, but their efforts were not enough as the host Astros fell to the Oakland Athletics, 11-5. Castro went 3-for-4 in the outing as he and Dominguez became the first Astros duo to collect multiple homers in the same game since Lance Berkman and Craig Biggio on July 25, 2005 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Castro’s pair of blasts gives him six homers on the season, equaling his 2012 total and tying a career high. Houston’s first round pick (10th overall) in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft continued to swing a hot bat in Sunday’s matchup with Oakland, collecting a career-high four hits and scoring a run as Houston fell to the visiting A’s, 6-2.

Castro, in his third Major League season, became the first Astros player with at least three hits in three straight games since Ty Wigginton on August 15-17, 2008.

In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Jason Castro will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time.

Porter sees Dominguez, Castro for the long haul

Astros manager Bo Porter was asked repeatedly this spring about setting his starting lineup, and he always gave the same answer: “Jose Altuve is my starting second baseman and he’s going to hit leadoff.” In other words, Porter was set on the 5-foot-6 Altuve as his starting second baseman, but every other position was up for grabs.

Though the evaluation process continues in the outfield, earlier this month Porter identified J.D. Martinez as the starting left-fielder, Robbie Grossman as the starting center-fielder and Jimmy Paredes as the starting right-fielder — for now. These names are by no means locked in as much as Altuve, an All-Star a year ago, but Porter’s declaration was more about finding out what Martinez, Grossman and Paredes can do to prove they belong.

Which brings us to Saturday night, when third baseman Matt Dominguez and catcher Jason Castro both hit two homers, becoming the first Astros teammates to do that since Lance Berkman and Craig Biggio in 2005.

Dominguez, a tremendous defender, has seven homers in his last 12 games after not hitting a homer in his first 33 games this year, and the former first-round pick Castro has homered three times in his last six games and is hitting .450 in that span. Dominguez is hitting .253 with seven homers and a team-leading 24 RBIs, and Castro is hitting .265 with six homers and 15 RBIs.

After the game, Porter was ready to say Dominguez and Castro had joined Altuve in locking up a starting spot for the long term, and considering there’s nobody in the Minor Leagues ready to push them, that’s a good thing for the Astros.

“We found ourself a third baseman and we found ourself a catcher,” Porter said. “And coming into the season we knew we had a second baseman. This is the thing: You let them play long enough, the questions you have, they’ll answer them. One way or another, they will answer the questions you need to have answered. I will not leave this season without getting every question I have in my head answered.”

As for first base and shortstop? Jonathan Singleton appears to be the first baseman of the future and will begin his Minor League season next week after missing the first 50 games because of a second failed drug test. The shortstop spot is being kept warm until 2012 No. 1 pick Carlos Correa is ready, though Jonathan Villar could be interesting to watch next year.

And don’t sleep on Chris Carter, who has enough power to entrench himself at first base or designated hitter if he can cut down on his strikeouts.

Whether any of these names are here when the Astros hope to contend in a few years remains to be seen, but there are some signs on hope in the rubble of a 14-35 season.

Game 4: Wallace, Castro stay hot in win over Tigers

What happened:  The split-squad Astros got a two-run homer from Jason Castro — his second in as many games — and a solo shot from Brett Wallace to pull away from the Tigers for a 9-4 win on Tuesday afternoon at rainy Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

For the game story and boxcore on the Astros’ 7-2 split-squad loss to the Rays in Port Charlotte, click here.

What we learned: C Jason Castro feels as good at the plate as he has in a long time, going 2-for-2. He homered to left-center field in his first at-bat and later singled, also to the opposite field. He has two homers in two games this spring. He’s made a minor adjustment to allow him to stay on the ball a little bit more and drive it the other way.

“I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well and been getting some good pitches, trying to be aggressive,” he said. “I know it’s early in spring and guys throw a lot of fastballs right now. I’m trying to take advantage of that and it’s been good so far. The swing feels really good and I think I’m seeing the ball well. So that’s part of it. That’s what I’m looking for right now is comfort-ability and getting back in the rhythm of hitting and facing live pitching.”

What we learned II: The work IF Brett Wallace put in during the winter with hitting coach John Mallee is paying quick dividends. Wallace went 3-for-4 with a long homer to center field in the win while starting at third base.

“The ball I hit to center was a changeup, and that was something we worked on, being able to stay on my legs and if it’s not a fastball down the middle that I won’t come out of them and I will stay back on them,” Wallace said. “It’s definitely something we worked on and it’s encouraging and I just have to try to repeat it over and over.”

What else: SS Tyler Greene did a nice job at top of the lineup with two walks. Porter said when you’re not getting hits you sometimes get anxious, but it was a good sign for him to expand the zone and take his walks. … RHP John Ely, who’s battling for a starting spot, allowed a two-run homer in the fourth before coming back with a clean fifth. … OF Michael Burgess, who was taken in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, made a nice diving catch in foul territory to end the game. … RHP Josh Fields got on the mound for the first time, closing out the eighth and finishing the Tigers off in the ninth. … OF Robbie Grossman and OF Trevor Crowe each had two-run extra-base hits in the fifth.

What went wrong: Wallace, starting at third base, made a fielding error in the fifth inning that led to a run, but manager Bo Porter shrugged it off: “I think he knocked in more than he let in.”… Minor League IF Nolan Fontana had a throwing error.

What they said: “From a hitter standpoint, this is the time of year that you really want to work  on being on time with the fastball. Castro laid out some great swings, [Rick] Ankiel laid out some good swings, Wallace swung the bat well today. From a pitching standpoint, our pitchers did a great job, especially the starters [Erik] Bedard and Ely, of locating their fastballs well,” — Astros manager Bo Porter.

Here’s Erik Bedard, Brett Wallace, Jason Castro and Bo Porter on the game:

What’s next: RHP Alex White, acquired from the Rockies in a trade for Wilton Lopez in December, will make his first start of the season for the Astros when they travel to Dunedin, Fla., to meet the Toronto Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT Wednesday. He was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) for Colorado last year.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained ankle) has thrown in the bullpen and could face live pitching soon. . … C Max Stassi (oblique) was scheduled to travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to get an MRI and see a specialist about a possible sports hernia.

Links of the day: Jose Martinez, who was MVP at Double-A Corpus Christi last year, has overcame an unthinkable tragedy and has taken advantage of his second chance with the Astros. Here’s video of Martinez talking about his struggles:

The Astros notebook has Ambriz and Stassi talking about their injuries, prospects Nolan Fontana and Mike Foltynewicz on their appearance on the spring roster, Wallace on his comfort level at third base, plus much more.

The day in photos

Bud Norris.

My man Bud Norris.

Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve.

Brett Wallace and Michael Burgess.

Brett Wallace and Michael Burgess.

Delino DeShields.

Delino DeShields.

Brett Wallace.

Brett Wallace.

Dallas Keuchel.

Dallas Keuchel.

Nolan Fontana.

Nolan Fontana.

Nolan Fontana and Robbie Grossman.

Max Stassi and Robbie Grossman.

Porter visits with veterans about leadership

Astros manager Bo Porter met with a group of players prior to Wednesday morning’s workout that he wants to take a leadership role on the club this spring. The meeting, which Porter dubbed “Astros Talk,” included Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan, Jason Jaramillo, Erik Bedard, Bud Norris, Philip Humber, Lucas Harrell, Wesley Wright, Jose Veras and Edgar Gonzalez.

“We talked about leadership, and there’s a reason why I picked those guys,” he said. “Some of those guys have been on other teams where obviously it hasn’t been the situation we have here where we have a lot of young guys, and a lot of times these guys have been on teams and they have been the young guys.

“They now find themselves in a situation they become the older spokesmen. Like I said to them, I want to make sure we’re all on one sheet of music and we understand what leadership is all about and how you can effectively lead. If they had any questions, I wanted to be available for them to answer those questions to make sure we’re on one accord.”

Most baseball names don’t have a captain as in some other sports. The Yankees are one team that has traditionally identified a singular captain. Porter doesn’t plan to do that in Houston. Instead, he’s giving the responsibility of leader the younger players to those with the most service time.

“I explained to them, we’re not looking for one leader,” Porter said. “We’re looking for a group of leaders, because I’m a firm believer that leaders have to exist in every area, every level of the organization if you want the organization to continue to grow and continue to thrive. And the leaders have to develop the next wave of leaders. We’re not looking for one; we’re looking for a group.”

The first injury of camp was reported Wednesday morning when catcher Max Stassi, acquired in last week’s trade with Oakland, was diagnosed with a strained oblique. He will be held out of drills Wednesday.

“We’re going to pull him back a little bit as far as his workload goes,” Porter said. “He kind of tweaked his oblique a little bit.”

Here are a couple of quick morning photos:

Third base coach Dave Trembley is always smiling as he is here talking with Dave Clark and Dennis Martinez.

Third base coach Dave Trembley is always upbeat as he is here talking with Eduardo Perez and Dennis Martinez.

Bud Norris stretches prior to workout.

Bud Norris stretches prior to workout.

Castro hopes draining of fluid and injection help ailing knee

The Astros have come to grips with losing shortstop Jed Lowrie for four to six weeks with an injury to a nerve in his right leg, but they are still unsure how long starting catcher Jason Castro will be sidelined.

Castro, who was placed on the disabled list Sunday with what the team is calling right knee effusion, had the knee drained and endured a pain-killing injection Wednesday in Houston and said he hopes to be able to come off the disabled list next week.

“A pretty significant amount of fluid came out and it looked like they made a pretty successful draining of it,” Castro said via phone from Houston. “I had a shot in there and hopefully in the next few days it starts to really feel better and I’m able to get back to being a lot more active and get more aggressive movements and see how it feels from there.”

Castro, who missed all of last season after undergoing surgery on the ACL in his right knee, was hitting .254 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 20 games. As of right now, the Astros aren’t considering having another surgery to help repair the knee, Castro said.

“The reason why we took the route we did of draining and giving the shot is so I can try to play the rest of the year and push that back and avoid having to miss anymore time,” Castro said. “If that’s something that comes up later, we’ll deal with it then.”

 

Astros SS Jed Lowrie out 4-6 weeks with nerve injury

Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie will probably be out four-to-six weeks with a nerve injury in his right leg, general manager Jeff Luhnow said Tuesday.

Lowrie, who leads the team with 14 home runs, injured the leg and sprained his right ankle during a play at second base Saturday in San Francisco and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. He was examined by team doctors on Tuesday in Houston.

Luhnow said Lowrie will be on crutches and will have to wear a protective boot for a week before being re-evaluated. Lowrie was hitting .253 with a club-best 14 homers and 36 RBIs through 80 games and losing him is a big blow to an Astros team that had batted just .201 in his previous 15 games before Tuesday.

“We’re going to have to think about how to cover his at-bats and innings out there,” Luhnow said.

Marwin Gonzalez, a Rule 5 pick last December, will get most of the playing time at shortstop for now, but Luhnow hasn’t ruled out going outside the organization for shortstop help.

“He’s done a good job and we’re certainly thankful we have him, but we need to consider other options, whether it’s bringing up somebody else from Triple-A or looking outside the organization,” Luhnow said. “At this point it could go faster, but four-to-six is what we’re expecting.”

Meanwhile, catcher Jason Castro, who was also played on the disabled list on Sunday (backdated to July 8), had his ailing right knee examined Tuesday in Houston. Astros manager Brad Mills said Castro has some meniscus damage, but Luhnow remains hopeful Castro can return with a week.

“We’re still hopeful it’s going to be a short-term situation and he can come back when he’s eligible and shortly after,” Luhnow said. “We’ll know more in the next couple of days.”

Castro, who missed all of last season after undergoing ACL surgery on his right knee, was hitting .254 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 20 games this year, but had begun to experience some soreness in the knee.

“He’s going to have more fluid drained [Wednesday] and hopefully we’ll know more in three or four days,” Luhnow said.

Lowrie has spent time on the disabled list in each of the last four seasons, including this year, when he injured his thumb in Spring Training. He hurt his shoulder last year in a collision with Red Sox teammate Carl Crawford and missed time in 2010 with mononucleosis.

Norris takes up for his teammates

Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks was hit in the back by Bud Norris on his first pitch of Tuesday’s game in apparent retaliation for the Brewers’ Mat Gamel flattening Astros catcher Jason Castro at home plate on Monday. Norris said the pitch simply got away from him, but hinted it wasn’t on accident

“It kind of got away from me,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and stand up for my team. I think the umpires handled it professionally, our team handled it professionally and Rickie handled it professionally as well. Nothing personal against him. It is what it is.”

Castro and Gamel were was out of the starting lineup Tuesday, but Astros manager Brad Mills said Castro wasn’t scheduled to play anyway and, other than a sore neck, Castro was feeling fine.

Mills said Gamel would have had a good shot at being safe had he slid and said he didn’t have to bowl over Castro, who was knocked back and hit the back of his head off the ground and held onto the ball for a double play to end the sixth inning. He stayed in the game.

“My first thought was he must have the plate blocked and then I found out he didn’t have the plate blocked and I said, ‘C’mon, man,’” Mills said. “It was a situation he was trying to knock the ball loose, but I thought Jason did a great job.”

Veteran catcher Chris Snyder said it’s important for catchers to expose the plate to the runner to avoid violent collisions that occurred Monday.

“At this level, more times than no you see guys that know what they’re doing and the catcher is going to give them the plate,” Snyder said. “You see what’s happened over the year with guys getting concussions on both sides of it and what happened to [San Francisco’s Buster] Posey last year. It’s a reaction.”

Snyder said collisions are a lot more common in the Minor Leagues, where young players are for the first time able to collide with the catcher in an effort to knock the ball loose.

“I got lit up quite a bit in the Minor Leagues because there you have kids just out of high school and college and there have been rules against it and they’re just excited to be able to finally do it and they don’t know how to do it,” he said.

When asked specifically about Gamel’s leveling of Castro, Snyder thought it was unnecessary.

“I didn’t like it,” he said. “He had the plate. It’s a 6-2 ballgame. I didn’t like it.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 72 other followers