Jason Castro has played despite minor knee pain before, and he sounded determined, when he went on the disabled list May 5, to do it again. But after consulting with knee specialists, he has decided to seek a more permanent solution.
Castro will undergo surgery Tuesday in Vail, Colo., to have a small, torn part of the meniscus in his right knee removed. The arthroscopic procedure, called a partial meniscectomy, will keep the Twins catcher off the field for roughly four to six weeks, manager Paul Molitor said Monday.
Castro has been on the disabled list since the pain worsened during an at-bat in Chicago on May 4, but the latest flareup began several days before that. It’s the same knee in which he tore the medial collateral ligament and meniscus in 2011, an injury that required major surgery that kept him sidelined for the entire 2011. Minor recurrances have sidelined him a handful of times since then, and Castro was optimistic that with a week of rest, the pain would subside again.
But when it didn’t, the Twins sent him to the Steadman Clinic in Colorado for a second opinion. “The opinion there is that surgery was recommended,” Molitor said. “It’s disappointing.”
But by taking care of Castro’s knee now, Molitor said, the Twins hope to halt the cycle of minor recurring pain.
“He tweaks it, then he feels good, and eventually it starts flaring up again,” Molitor said. “[After] analyzing his history, images they were able to get from testing, [doctors decided] this is the right thing to do.”
Mitch Garver, who had big late-inning RBI hits back-to-back nights in victories Friday and Saturday over the Angels, will remain the starting catcher during Castro’s absence, with veteran Bobby Wilson serving as the backup.
“I’m comfortable with both him and Bobby. They’re both going to get a chance to get a fair amount of time back there,” Molitor said. “For Mitch, he’s starting to look more comfortable in the batter’s box. And we’re working on some things defensively that we think will help him, not only with our pitching, but how he handles the baseball.”
• Righthander Trevor May, on track for a return from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery by early June, will report to Class AAA Rochester this week and start Thursday against Syracuse. May, who pitched three innings for Class A Fort Myers on Saturday, is in the midst of a 30-day rehab assignment.
• Ervin Santana faced hitters for the first time Monday, throwing all his pitches during a session of live batting practice in Fort Myers, Fla. “He had a good day,” Molitor said of the All-Star righthander, who is recovering from February finger surgery. “He’s going to do that again Thursday, with the idea of pitching an extended [spring training] game next Monday.” Santana becomes eligible to return May 26.