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White Sox catcher Welington Castillo begins rehab assignment

Welington Castillo (right) of the White Sox applies the tag during the 9th inning of the game on Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium on March 29, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Getty Images)

Suspended White Sox catcher Welington Castillo began a rehab assignment at Class AAA Charlotte today, going 1-for-4 with single and walk in the Knights’ 4-3 loss in 10 innings to Louisville. Castillo was the designated hitter.

Castillo received an 80-game suspension without pay on May 24 after testing positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

He is eligible to rejoin the Sox Aug. 23.

In other news, the Sox also reinstated outfielder Leury Garcia from the 10-day disabled list. The move was expected after outfielder Ryan LaMarre was optioned to Charlotte Wednesday.

Castillo was signed to a two-year, $15-million contract, which includes a club option for 2020, last offseason. Castillo, 30, signed for $7.25 million in both 2018 and 2019, with the Sox holding an $8-million option for 2020 with a $500,000 buyout.

Castillo had been working out at the Sox’ training facilities in Glendale, Ariz.

“The biggest thing for us is he’s got to get some at-bats underneath him,” manager Rick Renteria said this week. “He’s got to make sure he’s able to throw and do everything that he’s supposed to be doing in order to participate here.”

Castillo, 31, batted .267/.309/.466 with six homers and 15 RBI in 33 games before the suspension. Omar Narvaez (.282/.369/.431, five homers 21 RBI in 69 games) and Omar Narvaez Kevin Smith (.283/.328/.310, no home runs, 12 RBI in 31 games) have shared catching duties since Castillo’s suspension.

Narvaez leads the Sox in batting average (.282) and on-base percentage (.369). He owns a .356/.433/.559 hitting line since the beginning of June.