Castro looking forward to starting camp healthy

HOUSTON -- Astros starting catcher Jason Castro can only hope a terrific offseason will mean a breakout regular season is coming his way in 2013.

Castro, who married college sweetheart Maris Perlman in November and took a honeymoon to South Africa, said Friday he finally believes his knee problems are in the past. He expects to begin camp as healthy as ever and is eager to build on last year's strong finish.

"This is the best I've felt even before I had my first surgery," said Castro, who missed all of 2011 after tearing his right ACL during Spring Training that year. "I'm really happy with how that's gone, and I'm just looking forward to getting down to Florida."

The Astros eased Castro back into action last year with 257 at-bats. He got off to a slow start at the plate and responded to hit .281 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in his final 61 games, hitting four homers in the final seven games of the season.

"I made a few steps and I learned a lot from last year," he said. "Just from getting to play more than I had in a while and from a physical standpoint, I kind of know what I need to do with my body and how to take care of myself and everything.

"I'm really happy with where I'm at. I had kind of gotten used to not feeling good and that kind of became normal. I'm really excited about how I feel and what 100 percent actually feels like. I'm going to take that into spring and try to build on that."