CHICAGO (CBS) — White Sox catcher Welington Castillo has been suspended 80 games, after testing positive for Erythropoietin, a performance-enhancing drug.
Castillo has played in 33 of the team’s 44 games so far, including Wednesday night’s 11-1 win over the Orioles. According to a lineup posted outside Guaranteed Rate Field, he had been slated to start Thursday’s series finale against Baltimore.
Erythropoietin, or EPO, is used for what is known as “blood doping,” and increases the production of red blood cells, delivering more oxygen to the muscles to increase performance.
In a statement provided by the Major League Baseball Players Association, Castillo apologized for “an extremely poor decision.”
“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.”
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the team was “saddened and disappointed” to learn of Castillo’s suspension:
“Welington has apologized to the team and his teammates and has taken full responsibility for his actions. He understands that he has negatively affected the team and has fallen short of the expectations we have of our players. The White Sox fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing substances from our game.”
Castillo, 31, is hitting .270 with 6 home runs and 15 RBI for the White Sox in his first season in Chicago.
A second offense for Castillo would carry a season-long suspension, and a third would result in a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball.
Meantime, the White Sox also have placed utility player Leury Garcia on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee sprain. Triple-A catcher Alfredo Gonzalez was recalled from Charlotte to take Castillo’s spot on the roster. Outfielder Charlie Tilson also was recalled from Charlotte to take Garcia’s spot.
Castillo’s suspension comes on the heels of an 80-game suspension for fellow Dominican and All-Star Robinson Cano, of the Seattle Mariners. Cano was caught using a diuretic which experts say can be used as a masking agent to hide the use of banned substances.