Reports White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended for 80 games for using a performance-enhancing drug put a damper on a 11-1 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Dominican journalist Americo Celado S. first reported Major League Baseball planned to hand down a suspension Thursday for “steroid use.” The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal confirmed through sources that Castillo would be suspended for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement, but was told the prohibited substance wasn’t steroids.
The Tribune could not immediately verify the reports. Asked about them after the game, manager Rick Renteria said, “For me, those are just, at this particular moment, rumors. MLB’s the one in charge of all that stuff, and until they release something officially I can’t really comment.”
Castillo, who singled in the third inning, did not address reporters afterward.
Earlier this week, Renteria benched Castillo for not hustling to first base on a popup and Castillo expressed regret to reporters the next day.
There were no outward signs during the game Wednesday that Castillo’s teammates were aware of or were affected by the reports.
Another somber note was struck when outfielder Leury Garcia sprained his left knee while stealing third base and left the game. Renteria said Garcia will be reevaluated Thursday morning, as will designated-hitter Matt Davidson who was a late scratch with back stiffness.
There were many high notes, though, Wednesday. Yoan Moncada hit a three-run homer, Adam Engel when 4-for-4 with a two-run shot to left field in the fifth, his first since Sept. 11 in Kansas City, and Jose Rondon hit his first career blast to right field in the seventh. It was the fourth time this season the Sox scored 10 or more runs, the last on April 23.
The hit parade nearly overshadowed Dylan Covey’s performance. Coming into the game, the young right-hander (1-1, 3.46 ERA) had a dubious streak hanging over his head — 13 straight starts without a victory, the longest in Sox history. He certainly put that to bed, giving up just one earned run on six hits and striking out eight in a career-high seven innings to notch his first major-league triumph.
Covey had given up at least three runs in each of his last five starts before Wednesday. But Sox manager Rick Renteria emphasized beforehand he had been doing a better job attacking the strike zone in Triple-A Charlotte before his call-up Saturday. Covey threw 65 of 103 pitches for strikes.
Last season, the Sox had to keep him on the 25-man roster as a Rule 5 draft pick and he floundered.
“It was tough. Obviously, I wasn't ready, I don't think,” Covey said. “But I think that it taught me more than I could ever have learned at any level in minor-league baseball.”
The 68-degree temperature at game time seemed to agree with Sox batters, eight of whom had at least a single and overall the team had 12 hits. Engel matched his career high with four hits and Daniel Palka extended his hitting streak to five games.
The Sox stole four bases (though one was uncontested), and after his theft, Engel advanced to third on a wild pitch. Garcia strung together back-to-back steals but came up limping while keeping his foot on third base.