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Astros Castro, Guzman file for arbitration

All-Star catcher due for raise; salary figures to be exchanged on Friday

HOUSTON -- All-Star catcher Jason Castro and newly acquired infielder Jesus Guzman both filed for arbitration Tuesday and will exchange salary figures with the club on Friday.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said last year the club would be open to exploring a contract extension at some point with Castro, who's coming off a career year in which he hit .276 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs before missing the final month of the season with a knee injury.

Castro, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, made $496,000 last year, which was a bargain for a player who was named to the American League All-Star team, was a two-time AL Player of the Week and was named the team's Most Valuable Player. He could command more than $2 million this year.

Once the teams and the swap desired salary numbers for 2014, both sides can continue to negotiate to find a middle ground until an arbitration hearing is set next month. If they go to a hearing, a three-person panel would decide on either the team's offer or the player's desired figure.

The Astros could still pursue a long-term deal with Castro, though there has been interest in him on the trade market. Castro is coming into his own offensively, but there are concerns about his history of knee problems and his defense.

Guzman was acquired from the Padres in December in exchange for infielder Ryan Jackson. He will be given the opportunity to play first base and can play the outfield. The 29-year-old made $503,200 with the Padres last year, during which he played 126 games and hit .226 with 17 doubles, nine home runs and 35 RBIs.

He started at four different positions, including 33 games at first base, 25 in left field, three in right field and two at third base. He was especially effective as a pinch-hitter, hitting three home runs and leading the Majors with 14 RBIs in that role.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Jason Castro, Jesus Guzman