Chicago White Sox catcher Welington Castillo has been suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a PED that is in violation of Major League Baseball\’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The 31-year old veteran catcher released the following statement through the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Player\’s Association):
\”I was recently notified by Major League Baseball that I had tested positive for EPO, a substance that is prohibited under MLB\’s Joint Drug Agreement. The positive test resulted from an extremely poor decision that I, and I alone, made. I take full responsibility for my conduct. I have let many people down, including my family, my teammates, the White Sox organization and its fans, and from my heart, I apologize. Following my suspension, I look forward to rejoining my teammates and doing whatever I can to help the White Sox win.\”
Castillo, a first year White Sox player, was signed by the club this offseason to a two year, $15 million deal with an $8 million option for 2020. He was brought in to help young pitching prospects like Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Carson Fulmer develop. The White Sox are struggling mightily this year, and are tied with Kansas City Royals for last in not just the AL Central, but the MLB as well. When Castillo returns from the suspension, there will be 35 games remaining in the season. An 80 game period is a long run, and could give the 4 catchers on the 40 man right now (Omar Narvaez, Kevin Smith, Alfredo Gonzalez and Dustin Garneau) a chance to shine, or prospects that are a little lower down, like Zack Collins and Seby Zavala a very small chance, but still a chance, to be called up to the show.
Castillo, 31, has a .267 batting average, six homers and 15 RBIs in 123 Plate Appearances for the White Sox this year. In his career for the White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, Castillo has a batting average of .259, with 86 homers and 298 RBIs in 2392 Plate Appearances.