Chicago — Former Orioles catcher and current Chicago White Sox catcher Welington Castillo was behind the plate Wednesday night as reports emerged he'd be suspended 80 games for a positive drug test for performance-enhancing drugs Thursday.
Castillo finished the game against his former club, and the announcement came Thursday morning, leaving the Orioles clubhouse in murmurs about it and causing manager Buck Showalter to skirt around the issue some.
He began by saying Castillo, whose positive test came for Erythropoietin, a red blood cell stimulant popular among cyclists, was a "good player and a good teammate and a pleasure to have around last year," though he reserved judgment on something he claimed not to know the specifics of.
"There's no sport that has better and more stringent testing than ours," Showalter said. They're doing everything possible, and I applaud them for it. I know I see it every day in here, it seems like. Believe me, we've all got opinions. We could sit here and talk about it forever off the air. We all do. Let's be frank. It's unfortunate. Believe me, I've got some real personal thoughts on it that doesn't behoove anybody for me to be weighing in on it — even though someone might actually think it's entertaining. I don't. I'm not happy about it. I know our pitchers aren't."
Castillo, who went 4-for-12 against the Orioles this week, said in a statement that the "positive test resulted from an extremely poor decision that I, and I alone, made."
"I take full responsibility for my conduct," Castillo said. "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 in a statement that Castillo "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 own players," Hahn said.
Castillo, who hit .282 with an .813 OPS and a career-high 20 home runs last year for the Orioles, declined a club option for 2018 and instead signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the White Sox. He had six home runs while batting .267 with a .774 OPS before the suspension.