Castro takes BP, nears return to starting lineup

Castro takes BP, nears return to starting lineup

OAKLAND -- All-Star catcher Jason Castro took batting practice before Thursday's series opener against the A's for the first time since leaving Monday's contest against the Twins with a sprained right knee and could be available to pinch-hit.

The Astros backstop had the knee drained on Tuesday. That alleviated the cyst he attained after fouling a ball off his knee in the first inning of Monday's game against Minnesota.

"I'm pretty happy with the kind of way it's gone on," said Castro, a two-time American League Player of the Week who's hitting .282 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs this season. "I don't see why I can't get back in action shortly. We'll see depending on how BP goes today and we'll kind of go from there."

Astros manager Bo Porter has said he'd prefer easing Castro back into some at-bats before he inserts him back behind the plate.

"He very well could be available to hit later in the game," Porter said. "But we wanted him to at least go through a complete day and hopefully tomorrow he can get back in there."

Jeff Kirshman is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.