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Struggling Welington Castillo bats cleanup, and it more than works out

Welington Castillo has been outperformed by James McCann, but Castillo showed why Rick Renteria still believes in him.

AP Photos

WASHINGTON — White Sox catcher James McCann is building a case for a spot on the All-Star team, but manager Rick Renteria wants to keep him fresh and stay with what has been working, so he’ll continue using Welington Castillo behind the plate, too, in most instances to catch Dylan Covey and Manny Banuelos.

Some eyebrows were raised when Renteria inserted Castillo, who’s coming off a stint on the concussion list carrying a .189 batting average, in the cleanup spot Wednesday with Covey pitching. But Castillo responded by going 2-for-4 with a game-tying home run in the eighth inning against Wander Suero.

“I know I can hit,” Castillo said before the game. “If I get my at-bats consistently, my numbers will be there. At the same time, [McCann] has been calling great games and crushing the ball. He deserves to play. If I were the manager, I would give the chance to the guy who is hot. He deserves it.”

McCann is batting .336/.376/.500, but Renteria said Castillo deserves the chance to play, too.

“He’s an experienced guy. He’s not going to be overwhelmed by any situation,” Renteria said. “That’s the beauty of having a young man who’s got experience under his belt at a key position. And today he had some good at-bats. That speaks well about Castillo. We’re happy we have him, and we’re comfortable in any role we use him.”

Not closing time

Alex Colome, who’s 12-for-12 in save situations, walked the first hitter he faced on four pitches before serving up the game-winning homer to Trea Turner and suffered his first loss opening the ninth inning of a tie game. Renteria was prepared to use Colome for two innings.

“We are here to pitch any time or day they need us,” Colome said. “I don’t have any problem pitching in a tie game. It’s different, but we have to do it. But there’s no excuse for not doing a better job.”

Madrigal promoted

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 draft, second baseman Nick Madrigal was promoted from Class A Winston-Salem to Class AA Birmingham. Madrigal batted .307/.372/.427 in his last 19 games.

“He fights in his at-bats, he knows how to play situational baseball and he knows how to run the bases,” Renteria said. “There are a lot of things in his game, a more complete package so to speak with ‘Magic,’ as everybody calls him. He’s moving along.”

This and that

Yoan Moncada’s 12th homer, against Anibal Sanchez, was his second in two days and extended his hitting streak to seven games.

u Covey, who allowed two runs in five innings, was done after 77 pitches.

“I don’t feel like I got loose,’’ Covey (4.58 ERA) said. “I don’t know if it’s the muggy day or what, but I just felt that every pitch I was throwing was like the first one I was throwing.”

u The Sox have lost eight of their last nine games against the Nationals.

u On the last day of the draft covering Rounds 11-40, the Sox selected third baseman DJ Gladney of Matteson and Illiana Christian and their ACE program. Gladney is one of 10 high school players selected by the Sox.

The Sox drafted 23 pitchers, eight outfielders, five infielders and four catchers.