Lilly throwing again, hopes to debut by late April

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Ted Lilly threw live batting practice yesterday and reported no pain in his surgically repaired shoulder or recently injured knee, indicating that he hopes to join the Cubs’ rotation by late April:

I feel pretty darn good. I don’t know how close to normal. The most important thing is when you get up there on the mound. I haven’t thrown any breaking balls yet. It’s a different deal when you’re throwing bullpen [sessions] or even batting practice as opposed to when you get in a game and work out of jams.

Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune reports that Lilly will next throw a simulated game and then perhaps advance to real game action in extended spring training. He won’t be in the Opening Day rotation, but it sounds like Lilly won’t miss more than a few starts if he can avoid setbacks.

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.