Rays' Carlos Pena homers in sixth straight game

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carlos pena headshot rays.jpgRays slugger Carlos Pena drilled yet another home run in Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Marlins, topping Jose Canseco’s franchise record of consecutive games with a long ball.

Pena has homered in six straight contests and is now chasing the all-time record held by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long, who all homered in eight straight games.  The Tampa Bay left-hander had a .169 batting average when this show of power began last Sunday and is now hitting .196.  His slugging percentage has also risen exponentially to .439 and he’s among the league-leaders in home runs with 15.

The 32-year-old Pena is in a contract year, meaning he will be seeking the big bucks in just a handful of months.  He was off to a horrendous start, but teams in need of a first baseman or DH have now certainly taken notice.

Due in large part to Pena’s hot bat, the Rays have won four of their last six games and sit atop the American League East with a MLB-best 40-22 record.  The Yankees trail by one game.

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.