Originally this post was going to advocate shutting down Jason Castro for the season. To me the evidence was overwhelming, and in fact it should have been done weeks ago.
The Astros announced on Tuesday that Castro would be placed on the Disabled List for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury. And without a doubt, it was the right move.
Castro made his first All-Star team this season and had a career year. The catcher hit .276 on the season with 18 home runs, 35 doubles, and 56 RBI’s. These were all career highs for the former first round pick. But perhaps the bigger issue, is that he played in a career high 120 games and his 491 plate appearances were also a career high.
For any player, and especially a catcher, that is a big deal. You also must keep in mind that Castro has had injury problems in the past. This is a fact that was not lost on Bo Porter this season as he made every effort possible to keep his catcher healthy and rested.
Of the 120 games that Castro appeared in, he started at catcher 95 times. Porter shrewdly used the designated hitter spot to keep him rested, but it proved not to be enough.
After taking a ball to the knee a little more than two weeks ago, a cyst was aggravated in Castro’s knee sending him to the bench. The Astros and Castro both said all of the right things, and it appeared that his rehab was being taken slowly.
When Castro returned after an absence of about a week, it was only as the designated hitter. That was the right decision, but it still proved to be too much too soon for him. In two games, he went 0-9, before it was deemed that the knee was still bothering him and required more rest.
In hindsight, Castro was rushed back too soon, and undue risk was taken. But I understand from both sides (Porter and Castro) why he did return when he did. The one positive, was that it was only as a designated hitter and not behind the plate, so at least the risk was minimized.
With Castro still having discomfort, in my mind the only plausible decision was to shut him down for the season. He has already proven that he should be the starting catcher next season, so there is no reason for him to continue playing. Just get the knee right, and prepare for next season. But going forward, this proves that Castro’s time behind the plate must be managed while keeping his bat in the lineup.