Houston Astros: Jason Castro comes up lame, is it Max Stassi time?
By Eric Huysman
Jason Castro was continuing his recent success at the plate after hitting a ball that was a guaranteed double during the Houston Astros versus Minnesota Twins game in the sixth. As Castro was rounding first and almost to second base, he started grabbing at his right hip and limped the rest of the way to second base. He was in obvious pain as he walked off the field and down the dugout tunnel. It was later announced and confirmed by manager A.J. Hinch after the game as a hip flexor or quad area injury.
Even Geoff Blum on the broadcast said that was not a good injury when it happened, Hinch echoed the sentiment after the game on Root Sports. Hinch said, “We will find out more tomorrow about how serious the injury is.” When asked if there would be a roster move, Hinch indicated that they will discuss this after the game. Should Castro have to go on the disabled list, the most likely replacement would be Max Stassi, who is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster.
Following the game, former Astros manager and legend Art Howe said, “Castro might be back mid-month, but that might be optimistic.” The Astros are heading into their first September since 2005 that they are playoff contenders; now they might have to do it without their best defensive catcher Castro. Also missing will be Castro’s bat, which was coming back to life after a recent downturn.
Last 15 days slash line according to Baseball-Reference.
.357/ .438/ .714/ 1.152.
How is Castro feeling after the game? From Jose de Jesus Ortiz’s Tweet below, he’s hoping for the best outcome.
While Castro might want to wait and see, the Astros will want to be proactive unless they want to be in a situation where Evan Gattis is the emergency catcher with Castro unavailable for a few days. The Astros have been adamant about Gattis not going back behind the plate, and I don’t think that anything has changed with their feelings. The Astros need Castro down the stretch, but in my opinion, he should get healthy for the playoffs.
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The frustrating thing for Castro and the Astros is that the rosters were about to expand on September 1st, so they could have gotten Stassi on the roster without having to put Castro on the DL. The Astros have two more days until that happens, can the Astros afford to go with one catcher until then?
Let’s speculate that Castro is indeed going to the DL, who would be the main starter for the Astros at catcher? While most people would say give Hank Conger the starters role, but I think that the Astros need to use this opportunity to see what they really have in Stassi. He made his major league debut a few years ago but has yet to stick on the major league roster.
How is he doing this season at Triple-A Fresno?
.211/ .279/ .384/ .663 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs.
Like most current Astros, Stassi struggles with on-base percentage. However, the red flag should be that he is struggling against minor league pitchers. The eleven homers are nice, but he still needs to prove that he belongs in the bigs. A healthy Castro is not easier replaceable by a minor leaguer, but with the rosters expanding soon, Stassi was already on the way up as the third catcher.
Should Castro go to the DL, it could clear the path for a non-40 man roster catcher like Tyler Heineman or Roberto Pena as a September call-up. Look for the Astros to make a move soon. I am hoping for Castro to be back in a few days, but I am ready to root for Stassi if he gets the call.
Check Twitter and CTH for the most recent news on Castro.