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Welington Castillo suspended 80 games by MLB for violating drug policy

Welington Castillo is in his first season with the Sox. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo has been suspended 80 games by MLB for a violation of the league’s joint drug agreement. The punishment was officially announced Thursday after first being reported Wednesday night.

Castillo released a statement taking responsibility for the positive test, the result of an “extremely poor decision,” through the MLBPA.

Catcher Alfredo Gonzalez had his contract purchased from Class AAA Charlotte to replace Castillo on the 25-man roster. The team also announced that Leury Garcia has been placed on the 10-day disabled list and outfielder Charlie Tilson was recalled from Charlotte.

Castillo is the first active member of the White Sox or Cubs to be suspended by MLB for performance-enhancing drugs. He tested positive for Erythropoietin, a PED that’s banned under the league’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

“The Chicago White Sox were saddened and disappointed to learn of the suspension of catcher Welington Castillo for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” GM Rick Hahn said in a statement.

“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.”

Based on MLB’s collective bargaining agreement, players receive an automatic 80-game suspension for their first violation of the drug agreement, a 162-game ban for their second violation and a lifetime ban for their third violation. Mets pitcher Jennry Mejia is the only player to ever receive a lifetime ban under the present system.

Castillo is the second MLB player to be suspended for a drug violation this month. Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano received an 80-game ban from the league earlier this month after testing positive for a diuretic that’s on MLB’s banned substances list. In March, Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco and Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio suspended for the same length.

Castillo joined the White Sox during the offseason after spending 2017 with the Mets. He signed a two-year deal with a team option for 2020. His batting line so far this season was a very solid .267/.309/.466 with six home runs in 123 plate appearances.