TODAY: Castillo has officially been suspended after testing positive for banned performance-enhancer Erythopoieton, per a league announcement.
YESTERDAY: White Sox catcher Welington Castillo has been slapped with an 80-game suspension following a failed PED test, per Dominican journalist Americo Celado. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets the same, and it seems that an announcement from the league could come tomorrow.
Castillo, 31, signed a two-year, $15MM contract with the White Sox in the offseason and will forfeit nearly half of his $7.25MM salary on the 2018 season as a result of the 80-game ban. For the time being, it seems likely that Omar Narvaez will step up as the team’s primary catcher, though the Sox will need to make another move to add a backup to the equation.
Kevan Smith could conceivably be an option eventually, though The Athletic’s James Fegan tweets that he was just placed on the disabled list yesterday. Chicago doesn’t have another catcher on its 40-man roster, so it could have to select either Alfredo Gonzalez or Brett Austin from Triple-A Charlotte.
Blake Swihart figures to draw his fair share of speculation in connection with the ChiSox, as the agent for the seldom-used Boston backstop recently requested that the Red Sox trade his client. Looking to the waiver wire, the A’s designated Dustin Garneau for assignment yesterday, and he could be a quick fix to at least give the White Sox another option behind the plate while Smith mends.
Though the Sox are just 14-31 on the season, it’s a tough loss for the team all the same. Castillo got off to a fine start this season, hitting .270/.314/.477 with six homers through his first 32 games and 118 trips to the plate. He’s done a good job of controlling the running game (32 percent caught-stealing rate), as well.
Castillo, of course, becomes the second prominent player in the past week to be hit with an 80-game ban for a failed PED test. Robinson Cano tested positive for a banned diuretic that acts as a masking agent to performance-enhancing substances last week. Rosenthal notes that Castillo tested positive for a banned substance but not directly for a steroid, so it seems possible that he had a similar substance to that of Cano in his bloodstream at the time of the test.