Jason Castro has surgery to remove cyst from knee

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Jason Castro was shut down earlier this week due to right knee discomfort and now Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that he underwent a minor procedure today to have a cyst removed.

Castro fouled a ball off his knee on September 2 and had the cyst drained one day later, but he only appeared in two more games as a DH before being shut down. While his right knee has been a problem in the past, costing him the entire 2011 season, he is expected to be 100 percent for 2014.

Castro was a big bright spot for the rebuilding Astros this season, batting .276/.350/.485 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow still has a lot of holes to fill before the team becomes a contender, but catcher shouldn’t be one of them.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.