Pujols to have injured elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews

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Albert Pujols declined to undergo Tommy John surgery last winter and there’s no indication that he’ll opt for the procedure this offseason, but he is scheduled to have his injured right elbow examined next week by Dr. James Andrews.
Tommy John surgery is much easier on hitters than pitchers, but Pujols would still be facing 6-8 months of rehab that would likely sideline him well into next season. In other words, expect him to continue playing through the pain.
“It’s definitely something we’re aware of and are keeping tabs on,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “This isn’t a new condition, but it is something all of us want to monitor.”
Pujols went homerless in his final 89 at-bats, which is a career-long drought, but has insisted that the injury wasn’t to blame. However, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that “weight training causes the right elbow more discomfort than baseball-related activities” and “an abbreviated weight program contributed to Pujols’ thickening waist as the season progressed.”
In addition to the season-ending drought, Pujols homered once every 17.4 at-bats overall in the second half after going deep once every 9.6 at-bats before the All-Star break. Of course, along with the drop in power he still hit .322/.427/.582 in the second half and .357/.440/.616 in September, which is why he’s the best baseball player on the planet.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.