Bad news just keeps coming for the Houston Astros. Brian McTaggart, the Astros beat writer for MLB.com, is reporting on Twitter that Jason Castro was diagnosed with a medical meniscus tear in his right knee. Castro has headed back to Houston to be re-evaluated but it sounds like he will be heading to surgery.
This is definitely a major hit to the Astros if Castro has to miss significant time. Last year, Castro looked to have a developed a good rapport with the pitching staff and having a full spring training to strengthen it even more would of paid great dividends. Not to mention he was already one of the better defensive catchers in the game. This aspect will be seriously missed as Quintero and Towles don’t strike fear in the heart of base runners.
One of the positives though is that this injury has happened early enough in spring training, that if Castro does need surgery and is out significant time, he will hopefully not miss too much of the regular season. This injury will also open the door for former top prospect J.R. Towles, who had a very slim chance of making the Astros roster as a catcher. Towles most recently has been taking grounders at first base in hopes of proving his value at other positions.
Since the Astros know by now what they get from Humberto Quintero, a defensive catcher with very little firepower at the plate, Towles will see the majority of work now as the Astros hope Towles can become the player many envisioned. He was rated the 53rd best prospect in Baseball America’s Top 100in 2008. He was in some pretty good company as he was ranked around players like Joey Votto, Austin Jackson, Geovanny Soto, and Nick Blackburn.
When it is all said and done, hopefully Castro’s injury is not as serious and he won’t miss any time during the regular season. However, this gives J.R. Towles another chance, and most likely his last, to prove to the Astros that he can be a major league catcher. It will be interesting to see how Towles finishes out spring training.