Welington Castillo's Suspension A Big Letdown For White Sox

Castillo is sidelined for 80 games after testing positive for EPO.

Bruce Levine
May 24, 2018 - 12:59 pm
White Sox catcher Welington Castillo

Matt Marton/USA Today Sports

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By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- The individual brought in by the White Sox to help mentor their young staff's development now finds himself sidelined for nearly half a season because of self-afflicted wrongdoing.

Catcher Welington Castillo has been suspended 80 games for violating the league league's joint drug prevention and treatment program. Castillo tested positive for Erythropoietin, better known as EPO, which isn't a steroid but is a performance-enhancing substance nonetheless. His suspension starts immediately, and he'll be away from the team until late August.

"Welington sought me out and sought (manager Rick Renteria) out and personally expressed his apologies," general manager Rick Hahn said. "I thought his message was extremely heartfelt. He apologized to his teammates this morning. He has stood up and acccepted responsibility for his actions."

EPO is prohibited because it stimulates bone marrow, which is also known as blood doping.

"This is a difficult moment for the organization, all of us and Willie," first baseman Jose Abreu said. "I talked to him this morning, and he apologized for the hurt he caused. I told him, 'We are human beings, and we make mistakes.' We need to move forward and learn from those mistakes."

The 31-year-old Castillo is a friendly and well-liked individual who signed a two-year, $15-million deal with the White Sox in the offseason. Part of the reason the White Sox brought him on was because Renteria, who had managed Castillo on the 2014 Cubs, gave him a recommendation.

"This is a little bit of a blow for us," Renteria said. "This is a young man who knows he has made a mistake. He will learn from it hopefully. This does not change how I feel about him. This too shall pass. It is like you say about your own children when they make mistakes -- you always love them, but you don't always like them."

Castillo was hitting .267 with six homers and 15 RBIs in 33 games. He won't be allowed around the big league team during his suspension, but he can go to the team's complex in Glendale, Arizona to work out at that facility.

Previously the team's backup catcher, Omar Narvaez will receive more playing time. The White Sox have also called up catcher Alfredo Gonzalez from Triple-A and claimed catcher Dustin Garneau off waivers from the Athletics.

"This is extremely disappointing," Hahn said. "The players are strictly liable for what they put in their body and the consequences thereof. This is something Welington understands and something as an organization we support. Alfredo Gonzalez will be called up today to take Welington's spot. He will get an opportunity to see what he can do at this level. We will remain on the look out for other alternitives to add to our organiztional depth."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.