Astros catcher Jason Castro likely to undergo knee surgery

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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.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.