KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros began Spring Training with quite a bit of depth at the backup catcher position, but it looks like they'll have one less option to choose from when it's time to set the 25-man roster.
Further examinations on Hector Gimenez's right shoulder revealed a tear in his labrum, and it's likely the 24-year-old catcher is headed for surgery.
"He has labrum isses that really haven't gone away," general manager Tim Purpura said. "He has rehabbed this a couple times over the course of his career. What it appears is that each recovery period takes a little bit longer. The results aren't quite as good as the time before. That's not a very good trend when you're looking at an injury to the shoulder.
"I think it's likely he's going to have surgery, but I want to sit down with him and the doctors and get a game plan. It doesn't look good for him to start the season healthy."
Gimenez, a switch-hitter who appeared to be on the cusp of getting his first real taste of the big leagues, was set to compete with Humberto Quintero and Eric Munson for the backup catcher job. Now it's down to two, although Purpura and his staff will scour the other Spring Training camps for catchers who could add depth at the higher levels of the Minor Leagues.
If Gimenez has surgery, he could theoretically be ready to throw in three months. But because catching requires a lot of hard throws to second, it's likely Gimenez would need more time to rebuild the strength in his arm.
"Being a throwing athlete, as a catcher, it's not just that you're getting the ball around the infield or throwing the ball in the outfield," Purpura said. "He's got to throw the ball to second base. It could take a little longer. Healthy and throwing? Probably three months. But the ability to use that arm to get guys out and throw might take longer."
Gimenez, who's out of options, would begin the season on the Major League disabled list. Because of the length of time he's expected to miss, he will probably go on the 60-day disabled list, which would clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.