9/13/2013 9:05 P.M. ET
Astros plan festival for Hispanic Heritage Month
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The Astros will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 28 with a pregame festival at the plaza on Crawford Street outside of Minute Maid Park from 2-6 p.m. CT.
Events include live music with La Orquesta Salmerum; a salsa and Merengue dancing show and lesson; the presence of seven local food trucks from Houston; an autograph session with Jose Cruz, Alex Trevino, Francisco Romero and an Astros player to be announced; and an on-stage chat with general manager Jeff Luhnow, and players Jonathan Villar and Carlos Corporan.
The festival is free.
The ceremonial first pitch prior to that night's 6:10 p.m. CT game against the Yankees will be thrown by syndicated Univision radio personality Raul Brindis. A pregame flag ceremony will represent the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and the players from those countries.
Day to day with knee, Castro eyes weekend DH duties
HOUSTON -- Realizing he returned to action too soon the last time, Jason Castro isn't taking any chances as he continues to monitor his balky right knee.
He still isn't ready to crouch behind the plate, but he is available to pinch-hit against the Angels. He'll be monitored on a daily basis, as he has since he had a cyst on his knee drained on Sept. 1. He last played Saturday in Oakland.
"It's definitely feeling better and the rest was definitely what I needed," Castro said. "I just think we didn't give it enough time after having it drained. That's what we backed off a little bit and wanted to give it four or five days or so to kind of get back to normal after having that done."
The goal is to see time as the designated hitter during the weekend series with the Angels, but that's iffy at this point. No one is in a rush to push Castro back into game action if he's not ready.
"If he deems himself ready to go and the training staff says he's ready to do everything, then he'll be right back behind the plate," manager Bo Porter said. "Until then, we're going to take all precautionary measures to make sure this is not something that he would have a setback for the remainder of this year or that will carry to the offseason."
Still, Castro is hoping to play again this season and said there have been no discussions regarding shutting him down until next year.
"We haven't even talked about that," he said. "It's still way too soon to start talking about that. We have a lot more options to discuss before that."
In other catcher injury news, Max Stassi said Friday he progressing well in his rehab and was planning to take batting practice in the indoor cages later in the afternoon. Barring setbacks, he'll hit on the field Saturday.
Stassi hasn't played since Aug. 21, his second Major League game, when he sustained a concussion after being hit in the face with a pitch.
He's still hoping to play again before the end of the season, although he acknowledged the more days go by, the more work he'll have to do just to get back into proper playing shape.
"It's late, but I'd like to get my opportunity this year," Stassi said. "I had a pretty crazy first couple of games. It would be nice to finish up the year playing. But I'm going to do whatever they tell me. Then I'll work on things in the offseason and come to spring ready to roll."
In the meantime, Stassi is rehabbing at an area facility.
"I'm 100 percent over everything," he said, referring to the concussion symptoms. "Nothing bothers me as far as sounds and light, or anything like that."
Five players prepare for Dancing with 'Stros event
HOUSTON -- Five brave Astros are going to put their dancing shoes on after Sunday's game for a spin around the floor at the House of Blues, all in the name of charity.
Well, some would say they're brave. Others might say they're crazy.
Most of them -- Jake Elmore, Jose Altuve, Trevor Crowe, Jarred Cosart and Dallas Keuchel -- are looking at this as they should: a light-hearted, fun exercise that will raise funds for good causes. Whether they can dance is irrelevant, despite the fact that this event is called "Dancing with the 'Stros," and it will involve Astros players being paired with professional dancers and judged by their peers.
Yes, their peers -- the rest of the Astros players.
"I've guaranteed victory," Elmore said. "So I have something to live up to."
Crowe appears to see it the same way as Elmore.
"I get to play catch with Jake Elmore every day, and when a good song comes on, he'll just burst out with a super good dancing move," he said. "He's by far the favorite in my eyes."
On the other side of the clubhouse, opinions were equally as definitive.
"I'm not going to win," Cosart said. "I promise. I'm just going to have fun with it. I have no idea what I'm doing or even what the outline is. I'll see what I can come up with in the next 48 hours."
He shouldn't look too hard. The object of the game is to go into it blindly. Crowe wanted to prepare ahead of time -- a la the actual network show, Dancing with the Stars -- but was rebuffed. Players will have one hour to learn a routine before hitting the big stage.
"I haven't practiced at all," Crowe said. "I wanted to cheat and meet with my partner early, but they said that wasn't possible."
Astros acquire young righty from Detroit in Veras deal
HOUSTON -- The Astros received right-hander David Paulino from Detroit as the player to be named in the Jose Veras trade from July. The 19-year-old Dominican is the younger brother of highly-touted Tigers pitching prospect Brenny Paulino.
Like his brother, David Paulino has a big arm, but has had to work through a series of injuries, culminating with Tommy John surgery this summer. Before his latest injury woes, he was off to a solid start in the Rookie level Gulf Coast League, going 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four starts and striking out 22 batters over 20 innings. He had been hitting 97 mph with his fastball, according to scouting reports.
The Astros also received outfield prospect Danry Vasquez from the Tigers when the trade was announced July 29.
• Bill Brown and Mike Acosta, authors of "Deep in the Heart," will hold a book signing Saturday at the Barnes and Noble at Westheimer and Voss from 1 to 2 p.m. CT. "Deep in the Heart" offers a pictorial, historical look at 50-plus years of Major League Baseball in Houston.
• Outfielder J.D. Martinez was activated from the disabled list prior to Friday's game with the Angels. He had been sidelined since July 27 with a left wrist sprain.