Tag:J.R. Towles
Posted on: March 7, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Astros searching for catching

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jason CastroWhen Jason Castro went down with a sprained knee, the Astros were content with what they had in camp to cover their catching needs.

But when the news came back that Castro had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (on the play seen at the left) and would miss the majority of the season, that plan changed.

"We're reassessing it," Astros owner Drayton McLane told Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle

Castro is still the team's long-term catcher, but the team may look outside for a stopgap solution. Currently the team has Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles -- neither of whom profile as much more than quality backups.

The team has just three other catchers in camp, Carlos Corporan, Brian Esposito and Rene Garcia. Neither Corporan, 27, nor Esposito, 32, are prospects, while the 20-year old Garcia hit just .250/.288/.308 combined at the two levels of Class A last season.

"At the end of the day, I'm hoping the guys we have here step up and do what they're capable of doing and win the job," general manager Ed Wade said. "At the same time, if I get a call from somebody and they say, 'Hey, we've got so-and-so available, and this is what we're looking for,' and it fits what we're trying to do, we'd be prepared to do something today."

Ryan DoumitFront-line catching talent isn't exactly easy to find. One of the few catchers on the trading block is Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit.

However, Doumit is owed $5.1 million this season and is far from Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate. But he does have a bat and a bat that would play well at Minute Maid Park. In 72 career plate appearances in Houston, Doumit has hit .292/.347/.446 with three home runs.

Still, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said his phone hasn't exactly been ringing off the hook for Doumit.

"There's really no conversations going on because everybody's focused on their own clubs," Huntington told Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

UPDATE: MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes the Astros have asked the Nationals about Jesus Flores, but is concerned about the health of Flores' right shoulder, which has kept him off the field the last two seasons.
The Nationals have depth at catcher with starter and future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez, along with Wilson Ramos, who is considered their catcher of the future. The team also things Derek Norris is ready to hit at in the big leagues and is improving defensively.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 3, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: March 3, 2011 11:33 am
 

Astros catcher out with knee injury

Posted by C. Trent Rosecrans

Astros catcher Jason Castro will return to Houston today to meet with the team's medical director after suffering a torn medical meniscus in his right knee. He will likely undergo surgery, and his status for the beginning of the season is doubtful, at best.

Castro hurt his knee Wednesday, trying to avoid getting tagged out at first on a slow ground ball in the team's exhibition against the Tigers in Lakeland.

"I thought a lot about that [Wednesday] night," Castro told the Houston Chronicle's Steve Campbell. "But It's OK. I'm OK with it. There's nothing that can change it. I'm trying to stay positive and really just look to start the rehab process and get back playing."

The Associated Press' David J. Phillip caught a photo of the injury here:

Jason Castro

Castro, 23, played 67 games for the Astros last season, hitting .205/.286/.573 in 217 plate appearances. The Astros expected him to step into the starting catching role this season. However, the team does have veterans Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles in camp to take his place, and maybe into the start of the season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 14, 2010 7:21 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:57 am
 

R.I.P. Astros: Moving on

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Now: the Houston Astros.

Few teams were as bad as the Astros were in the first part of the season, and then few teams were as good as the Astros in the second half of the season.

Carlos Lee WHAT WENT WRONG

When I see Carlos Lee (pictured), I sometimes I think of the line in "Major League" when Charlie Donovan says, "I forgot about Dorn, because he's jolly high-priced." Lee owed $37 million through the next two seasons.

Lee didn't hit a homer in the season's first month, entered June with a .206 batting average and finished the season hitting .246/.291/.417 with 24 homers and 89 RBI. He's a below-average designated hitter that plays in the National League.

It's not to say Lee was all that was wrong with the Astros. Others struggled, such as Lance Berkman and Pedro Felice.

What may have been more devastating was seeing prospects the team had been counting on, such Tommy Manzella, Jason Castro and J.R. Towles struggle.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Brad Mills A lot of credit has to go to first-year manager Brad Mills. The team went 40-59 in their first 99 games of the season before finishing 36-27 the rest of the way. Mills also did it without some of his high-priced talent, as the team jettisoned Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman and Pedro Feliz.

Third baseman Chris Johnson had a good season, going .308/.337/.481 with 11 homers. Hunter Pence cashed in on the promise he'd shown early in his career, hitting .282/.325/.461 with 25 home runs, 91 RBI and 18 stolen bases.

The team relied on good starting pitching during its good streak from Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ, and all four of those starters return for 2011.

HELP ON THE WAY

Ugh. Not really. That's the problem with cutting your losses and going young -- you need young players to replace the old ones. It's cheaper, but the Astros have one of the worst farm systems in the majors.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The second half of the season raised the bar for the Astros, so fans will be expecting at least a .500 team, if not a run at the NL Central title.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Astros took the right direction during the season, trading Berkman and Oswalt.

Houston has Berkan, Oswalt, Feliz and Kaz Matsui off the books, but there's not a whole to to spend that money on in free agency.

Although Berkman had hinted that he wanted to return to Houston, the teams needs to resist nostalgia and give Brett Wallace a chance at first base.

2011 PREDICTION

The optimism from the last part of 2010 will be gone by the All-Star break and the team will finish ahead of the Pirates in the National League Central, but won't be challenging for a title.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com