KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Twenty-four hours ago, Toby Hall was eyeing a return to the field after a 30-day rehab program. But early Sunday morning, the plans changed, and now, Hall is preparing for right shoulder surgery.

"I've got to go get it done," Hall said.

The process may become complicated as time progresses. Hall, who while with the White Sox two years ago dislocated his shoulder and was sidelined for four months, now has a torn labrum that needs repair. He's definitely having the procedure, but who pays for it -- the White Sox or the Astros -- remains to be seen.

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The Astros have voided Hall's contract and will likely make their case to the Commissioner's Office that the White Sox are responsible for Hall's shoulder condition and therefore should have to pay for the surgery.

Regardless, Hall is now officially out of the catching picture for the Astros, whose pool of candidates stands at three: Humberto Quintero, J.R. Towles and Lou Palmisano. Lou Santangelo also figures to get more playing time this spring with the Major League club in Hall's absence.

"Seeing where [Hall] is at this point, we're probably looking at him rehabbing to be a one-day-a-week guy," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "You look at our catching situation, that really isn't our job description. We need someone that can go out there three or four days a week and catch."

As Hall packed up his locker Sunday morning, he expressed optimism for the future, even though this spring turned out to be a dud.

"Now it gives me peace of mind, after seeing the MRI and seeing what I've been dealing with for the last couple of years, puts me at ease about getting it fixed," he said. "I'm going to fly around this week and meet with a few doctors and try to narrow it down to see who's going to give me my future."

The Astros were intrigued by Hall this winter because of his extensive big league experience behind the plate, and saw him as a prototypical backup catcher. He could reappear in the Astros' plans at some point in the future, if he gets through the rehab process unscathed.

"We'll let the surgery play out," Wade said. "The way [team physician] Dr. Lintner described it, it's a minimum of four months before he's throwing. He doesn't really have a desire to play at Triple-A, and even if we were to nurse this thing along and he doesn't make our club and decided to go to Triple-A, he'll probably be very limited as far as what he can do. Once we see how the surgery goes, he'll be out there as a free agent."