5/19/2014 10:08 P.M. ET
Astros in good hands with Castro, Corporan
By Earl Bloom / Special to MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- As a team, the Astros have one passed ball, the second fewest in the American League; the Orioles have none.
Astros pitchers have thrown just eight wild pitches, second fewest behind the Tigers (seven), despite the fact that Houston's staff is loaded with ground-ball pitchers who throw sinkerball pitches.
And catchers Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan have totaled just two errors through the first 44 games.
"Obviously, they are working hard, not just to be tough outs in the box but when they're on the defensive end, and it's fun for our pitchers," veteran right-hander Scott Feldman said before Monday night's game against the Angels.
"Our catchers have done a tremendous job, not only blocking balls but calling pitches and getting in the right position," manager Bo Porter said. "A lot of it has to do with the confidence our pitchers have in them. But it's also a credit to Castro and Corporan for doing all the things it takes to be a top-notch catcher in this league."
Said Castro: "It all starts with our pitchers, and they've done a tremendous job. They're mostly young, but they're making progress, and the older guys on the staff have been doing a great job of bringing them along.
"They have confidence in throwing whatever Corp or I put down [as signs]. And Corp and I put in a lot of work in the spring to refine the defensive aspects of our game."
Villar OK, but out of lineup after hurting thumb
ANAHEIM -- Manager Bo Porter said that shortstop Jonathan Villar was available to play, even though he was held out of Monday night's lineup because of the injury he sustained to his right thumb while batting on Sunday.
"He's fine," Porter said earlier on Monday. "I just wanted to give him an extra day. He'll go through a normal workday [of batting, fielding] today, and tomorrow he should be back in there."
Marwin Gonzalez made his sixth start of the season at shortstop.
Villar, who's started 39 of 44 games, was 2-for-2 with two RBIs before leaving Sunday's victory over the White Sox. He's tied for first among American League shortstops in home runs, with five, and is sixth in extra-base hits, with 14.
• The Astros are tied for fourth in the AL in fielding percentage, at .985.
"We've been catching it and throwing it pretty good," Feldman said. "You can win a lot of games just on pitching and defense. [The defensive players] have all been really good. I don't get many strikeouts, so I like to get early contact and let them do their thing. They've been great."
• The Astros traded Minor League left-hander Raul Valdes to the Blue Jays on Monday for a player to be named or cash considerations.
Valdes, 36, was designated for assignment on May 4 and outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City two days later. He had no decisions and a 12.27 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Astros, and went 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA in eight relief outings for Oklahoma City.
Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.