— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 24, 2018
This is the second such suspension in just the past nine days, coming off the heels of the 80-game ban handed down to Seattle Mariners’ superstar, Robinson Cano.
Castillo reportedly tested positive for a substance called erythropoietin, which is a performance enhancing drug banned by Major League Baseball. Erythropoietin, also referred to as EPO, is a hormone that promotes the growth of red blood cells. Erythropoietin is naturally produced by the kidneys, but taking an extra supplement of EPO like Castillo did is considered a form of blood doping, hence why it is banned by MLB.
Castillo, much like Cano, admitted his mistake and publicly acknowledged that he knowingly and willingly took the substance that he tested positive for.
BREAKING: Player doesn’t make lame excuse for taking PED. Wellington Castillo statement acknowledges guilt and accepts full responsibility. pic.twitter.com/ox6cAfqXXH
— David Waldstein (@DavidWaldstein) May 24, 2018
This marks the 11th PED suspension in the 2018 calendar year that Major League Baseball has handed out, including key players such as Cano, Jorge Polanco of the Minnesota Twins, and Jorge Bonifacio of the Kansas City Royals. Castillo will lose $3.1 million off his 2018 salary as a result of the suspension.
Castillo, 31, had been serving as the White Sox’ primary catcher this season, slashing .267/.309/.466 with 6 home runs in 33 games. While Castillo has a solid bat it will be his defense behind the plate that the White Sox will miss the most. He has not committed an error so far this season and he has thrown out a modest 32% of runners attempting to steal against him. It was in that department where Castillo made a name for himself in his 2017 campaign, as he threw out 49% of runners attempting to steal throughout the season.White Sox catcher Welington Castillo has been suspended 80 games for the use of a performance enhancing drug.Click To Tweet
Castillo will be replaced by Omar Narvaez, whom has struggled both defensively and offensively. Narvaez is hitting just .180 so far this season, with just 11 hits in 61 at-bats thus far in 2018. However, Narvaez’s defensive numbers are even more ghastly than his offensive numbers. He has already allowed 7 passed balls in just 16 games started at catcher.
In a corresponding move to Castillo’s suspension the White Sox also selected Alfredo Gonzalez, 25, from Triple-A Charlotte to join the battery along with Narvaez. Gonzalez was hitting just .169 in 27 games down in Charlotte, but he may provide more dependable defense behind the plate should Narvaez continue to trend downwards.
The White Sox also claimed Dustin Garneau off waivers from the Oakland Athletics and assigned him to Triple-A Charlotte. Garneau will provide depth at the catcher position while Chicago waits for Kevan Smith, another catching option in Triple-A Charlotte, to come off the disabled list.