Welington Castillo of White Sox banned 80 games for EPO test

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CHICAGO, IL - MAY 20: Welington Castillo #21 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates a home run during the second inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 20, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Chicago White Sox catcher Welington Castillo was suspended for 80 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday following a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance.

The commissioner’s office cited use of EPO. Erythropoietin is a hormone that stimulates the red-blood cell production and often turns up in test results for cyclists.

Castillo apologized in a statement through the players’ union, saying he has “let many people down.” He pointed to an “extremely poor decision that I, and I alone, made. I take full responsibility for my conduct.”

General manager Rick Hahn said the team was “saddened and disappointed.” Castillo, he said in a statement, “understands that he has negatively affected the team and has fallen short of the expectations we have of our players.”

Castillo accepted the penalty without contesting it before arbitrator Mark Irvings. The discipline stemmed from an in-season test, and he became the eighth player suspended this year under the major league drug-testing program.

Castillo is in his ninth major league season. The 31-year-old Dominican is batting .267 with six homers and 15 RBIs this year on a team that is 15-31.

Barring rainouts, he would be eligible to return Aug. 24 at Detroit. He would lose $3,547,043 of his $7.25 million salary, which covers the period of 80 games plus the 11 off-days during that span.

He is due $7.25 million next season, and the White Sox have an $8 million option for 2020 with a $500,000 buyout.

Castillo has a .259 career average with 86 homers and 298 RBIs. He also has played for the Chicago Cubs (2010-15), Seattle (2015), Arizona (2015-16) and Baltimore (2017).

Others suspended this year under the drug program are: Seattle All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, Houston pitcher Dean Deetz, Washington catcher Raudy Read, Pittsburgh pitcher Nik Turley, Kansas City outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, Toronto pitcher Thomas Pannone and Minnesota shortstop Jorge Polanco.
There have been 38 players suspended this year under the minor league drug program.

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