MINNEAPOLIS -- Catcher Max Stassi would have been on his way to rejoin the Astros early next week from Triple-A Fresno when rosters expanded. But with catcher Jason Castro suffering a right quad strain in Friday night's game, Stassi got the call a few days earlier. Stassi made his way to Minneapolis in time to suit up for Saturday's game against the Twins, though he wasn't in the starting lineup.
Castro has been getting treatment since Friday, but said his quad is still sore, which was to be expected. With an already short bench, placing him on the 15-day disabled list became the team's most logical option.
Manager A.J. Hinch said there were a couple of different scenarios in play, depending on what happened with Castro. After the team's medical personnel evaluated Castro, they felt it was "unlikely that he was going to be able to come back within a couple weeks," Hinch said, considering both his injury and the position he plays.
Stassi is joining the team for the third straight year. In 2013, he played in three games with the Astros, collecting two hits in seven at-bats. In 2014, his stay was a bit longer, hitting .350 in 20 September games.
This year, the 24-year-old is hitting .211 in 294 at-bats, but he has had more success lately. He has hits in 13 of 18 games in August.
"Early on, my offense wasn't really up to my standards. I was struggling pretty bad. I felt that I hit rock bottom almost, and that's when I said 'You know what? I'm just going to go back to having fun and the basics of the game,'" Stassi said. "And finally these past months I've really started to hit and felt a lot more comfortable there and confident."
He also said he felt like he had improved defensively, which is his biggest concentration. And he said he is excited to join a team that is in the playoff picture and work with a talented Astros rotation, which includes two starters with sub-3.00 ERAs.
"It feels good to be back. It's unfortunate what happened to Jason, but I'm just going to be up here trying to learn from him and [Hank] Conger and contribute to this team as much as I can," Stassi said. "These guys are winning and I'm just going to try to mesh right in and help them out in any way I can."
Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.