Jason Castro on IL
MLB insiders report that Jason Castro is placed on the injured list, with the Houston Astros calling up Korey Lee from Triple-A Sugar Land.
On Wednesday, Jason Castro hit the ninth-inning, two-run blast to finish out the sweep of the Mets, before being benched in favor of Martin Maldonado for Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Yankees. A day later, it appears as if there might have been more to it than simple strategy.
With Dusty Baker, wily strategist that he is, switching between Maldonado and Castro all last season, it felt like Thursday’s decision was a simple planned swap. The Yankees are a team that might want to try and stretch out a catcher’s arm. Maldonado, with his cannon-like throws to second, is the man for the job. He doesn’t do anything much with the bat, but then again, that isn’t what the Astros pay him for. It is what he does behind the plate that gives him value.
Castro has had a rocky season, with many Astros fans calling for his replacement in the regular lineup. His hitting is abysmal in 2022, going only .115 in 78 at-bats. But on Wednesday he had a great moment, when he took a 1-1 delivery off of Andrew Smith deep to right field, giving the Astros the 2-0 go ahead lead.
Houston had earlier in that game lost Yordan Álvarez and Jeremy Peña to a collision in left, but in the end, Castro’s 100th career home run, and his first of the season, gave Justin Verlander his tenth win of the season, the first pitcher in the bigs to hit that milestone in 2022.
When Castro was benched on Thursday, it raised no eyebrows. But now it seems as if Castro is being placed on the IL and Korey Lee is being called up from Triple-A ball.
Lee was taken 32nd overall in the 2019 draft out of Cal, and has hit .226/.285/.419 for the Sugar Land Skeeters, knocking 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 64 games this season.
The exact details of the injury to Jason Castro are as yet unavailable, but it is being reported that he has some left knee discomfort. And with his difficulties at the plate, he might find himself replaced by a slightly more competent version of the backup catcher in Lee. The Astros already have a catcher who can throw. Now they need one who can hit.