Thursday, May 24, 2018

EXTRA: Castillo first Chicago ballplayer suspended for steroid usage

The Baltimore Orioles being in Chicago this week to play a series against the White Sox was supposed to be significant for the fact it would give local fans a chance to see Orioles star Manny Machado. He's the infielder who supposedly wants to be traded, and whom Cubs fans are convinced is eager to play on the North Side.
Apologetic for his 'steroid' usage
Yet these four games may be most significant (Machado only got one hit in 11 at-bats the first three games) because of the White Sox' catcher -- Welington Castillo. He's a Dominican ballplayer who on Thursday got hit with an 80-game suspension (that's half the 2018 season) for drug use.

SPECIFICALLY, FOR USE of Erythropoletin, a substance considered to be performance-enhancing, and thereby banned by Major League Baseball.

So for all the jokes about Sammy Sosa and his 600-plus home runs being tainted by steroids, Castillo will go in the books as the first ballplayer for a Chicago team who got a suspension for steroid use. Although I believe he's the fourth ballplayer overall to get hit with such a suspension during 2018 -- most prominently Robinson Cano, the one-time New York Yankee star who now is lost to the Seattle Mariners for half the season.

Castillo actually was signed just this year by the White Sox to be the catcher. The guys on minor league affiliates who are thought to be the long-term answer to the catching position aren't considered quite ready yet.

So Welington, who last year was a catcher for the Dominican Republic national team that partook in the World Baseball Classic, was not a long-term solution. His contract runs through 2019, with an option for 2020 that I seriously doubt will be picked up.

AND WHILE THE White Sox catching needs for this season will be uncertain, I doubt they will be any worse than they were with Castillo on hand. Six home runs so far this season, along with a .267 batting average, isn't the markings of a future champion.
Steroid suspect, even though never suspended

If anything, they're part of the reason why the White Sox have such an awful record -- even though they play in a weak division (the American League central).

Before any Cubs fans start gloating too loudly, keep in mind that Castillo originally was signed into professional baseball by those baby blue bears. Overall, he's just as much a Cub as any other team.

And now, his half-season suspension will likely be what his nine-year career in Major League baseball will be remembered for.


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