Astros 5, Braves 1
Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro feels he is all the way back from the right knee injury that cost him the 2011 season.
Castro caught all nine innings of Friday night's 5-1 split-squad victory over the Atlanta Braves.
He added a couple of hits, raising his batting average to .333 in 39 at-bats.
''I made some mechanical adjustments in my swing. It was something I was going to put in last year before I got hurt,'' Castro said.
''Unfortunately I wasn't able to do that so I've had a little extra time to get comfortable with those adjustments. I think offense is a big part of my game and hopefully I can just continue to show that.''
Most importantly for the Astros, Castro is back behind the plate and handling pitchers the way he did in 2010.
''I couldn't ask for anything more,'' manager Brad Mills said.
Castro tore his ACL in Houston's second exhibition game last March and underwent season-ending surgery a few days later.
There have been no signs of it this spring.
''I put in a lot of work to get where I'm at right now so I'm really happy with the way things have gone,'' he said. ''Hopefully I can carry this into the season. I'm really happy with how my body's responding the day after I'm catching.''
Bud Norris pitched six strong innings for the Astros and Chris Johnson's two-run single highlighted a four-run fourth inning off Atlanta starter Randall Delgado.
Norris gave up three hits and no walks, working through six innings after not pitching more than three in earlier exhibition starts.
''I wanted to get out there and extend myself,'' said Norris, one of only three pitchers who have been picked for the Astros rotation going into the final weekend of spring training.
''I'm glad they gave me the extra two days to get back to 100 percent and it showed today.
''I got a lot of ground balls and I worked really well with Castro. We are definitely on the same page.''
Delgado pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and five runs.
A couple of walks and a bunt by Jason Bucks set up Houston's four-run inning. Johnson and Castro followed with singles for a 4-0 lead.
NOTES: Martin Prado's double drove in the Braves' run after a hit by Josh Wilson. ... Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer took batting practice and might play Saturday for the first time since injuring his left hand on March 19.