Knee surgery will sideline Twins’ catcher Jason Castro at least a month

Twins catcher Jason Castro was eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. Scratch that and add at least another month of recovery.

Castro will have surgery on his right knee in Vail, Colo., and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks, manager Paul Molitor said Monday. The third operation on Castro’s troublesome knee is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

“It’s disappointing,” Molitor said. “Hopefully we’ll get a better feel on length of rehab once the procedure is completed.”

Injured May 5, Castro had hoped a cortisone injection would help him avoid surgery and prompt a quicker return, but his knee did not improve. On Monday, he visited knee specialist Dr. Robert LaPrade, who recommended surgery.

The veteran was hitting .143 with 26 strikeouts in 74 plate appearances this season. He missed all of 2011 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Castro also had arthroscopic surgery on that same knee in September 2013.

“You know he has a history and then tweaks it and then he feels good,” Molitor said. “Eventually, it starts flaring up again and you try to find out what’s going on. Between different people analyzing his history, and different images they were able to get through testing, this was probably the right thing to do.”

Mitch Garver has stepped into the breach, contributing to a pair of late-inning victories over the weekend against the Angels. On Friday, he singled in the tying run during a three-run ninth-inning rally in Minnesota’s 5-4 victory. The next day Garver drove in the go-ahead run with a double.

Garver also was hitting .316 at Target Field compared to .216 on the road entering Monday night’s game against Seattle, the start of a nine-game Twins homestand.

“With him and Bobby (Wilson), we’re trying to match up the best way we can,” Molitor said. “They’re both going to get a chance to get a fair amount of time back there. For Mitch, he’s starting to get more comfortable in the batter’s box … just a good opportunity.”

SANO APPEARS ‘NOT VERY CLOSE’

Third baseman Miguel Sano returned to the field for pregame work after taking Sunday off in Anaheim as he tries to strengthen a strained left hamstring that sidelined him for the 16th time this season on Monday.

Gingerly, he ran the bases under the watchful eyes of Molitor and strength coach Perry Castellano. He fielded ground balls at third base but was mostly stationary. He also took about 30 swings in the batting cage.

The verdict?

“I think he’s still a little tender, the way he’s going about it,” Molitor said. “I don’t know how you judge the effort he’s giving on some of the running he’s doing. To me, it’s not very close to 100 percent.”

Given Sano’s history of leg injuries, which include a left hamstring strain in 2016 and a shin injury that required surgery in 2017, the Twins are being cautious. They will continue simulating base-running situations for Sano during their nine-game homestand.

“I’m hoping we can have a good week here and think about getting him into a game sometime sooner than later, somewhere,” Molitor said. “Those hamstrings — to practice and try to get ready to go into a game and then be able to sustain for nine innings multiple games consecutively, that’s a challenge.”

BRIEFLY

Left fielder Eddie Rosario, hitting .362 with seven doubles, seven home runs and 17 RBIs in his past 16 games, was kept out of the starting lineup against Seattle lefty Wade LeBlanc. “He’s played a lot; he’s played well,” Molitor said. “Just seemed like the right guy to take out of the starting lineup today but he’s doing fine.” … Ervin Santana (finger) threw to hitters using all his pitches for the first time Monday in Fort Myers, Fla., and “had a good day,” according to Molitor. He’s scheduled to pitch an extended spring training game against live hitters again next Monday as his rehab assignment continues.


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