Astros manager Brad Mills announced today that 24-year-old starting catcher Jason Castro will likely need surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee.
According to Mills there’s no timetable yet for Castro’s recovery because “they’re going to have to see once they get in there how much damage and what they have to do.” As the photo to the right shows, Castro suffered the injury while running to first base during Wednesday’s game.
Castro was the 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft and made his big-league debut in June of last season, hitting just .205 with a .573 OPS in 67 games. Houston is committed to making him the everyday catcher this season and his minor-league numbers are significantly better, although still don’t suggest much star potential.
Humberto Quintero was the Astros’ primary catcher prior to Castro’s call-up last season and would likely be pushed back into a similar role, with one-time prospect J.R. Towles perhaps getting a final shot to show that he belongs in the majors as a backup. Quintero is 31 years old and has hit just .232 with a .593 OPS in his career, but even those putrid numbers look good compared to Towles’ career .189 batting average, although he’s at least put up some good numbers at Triple-A in between the various big-league struggles.
Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times has an outstanding profile of former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, who is currently in jail for allegedly murdering three men nearly two years ago.
Fenno describes Martin’s erratic personality as he became a highly-touted baseball prospect who then descends into drug use. Friends described Martin has having completely changed into an unrecognizable person. Martin had repeated conflicts with friends and family such that police reports became common and he was placed in a psychiatric facility. Sadly, the facility only held him for less than 48 hours. He would allegedly murder three people upon returning home: his father, his brother-in-law, and a home security system contractor. Martin fled from police, who eventually caught up to him and subdued him with the help of a police dog.
Fenno’s profile is really worth a read, so click here to check it out.
Martin, 23, was selected by the Rays in the first round (38th overall) of the 2011 draft. He spent three years in the Rays’ system, reaching as high as Single-A Bowling Green.
On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.
Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:
If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.
Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.
Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.
The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.