Hafner will test shoulder Friday with batting practice

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Some more injury news on this less-than-frantic Thursday evening.

According to John Barone of MLB.com, Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner is scheduled to take batting practice on Friday afternoon at Cleveland’s Progressive Field.  If it goes well, he could be cleared immediately for a minor league rehab assignment.

“We’re going to have him take a lot of swings, just like normal BP,”
Indians manager Manny Acta told MLB.com. “We’ll see how he feels after that and
talk about the possibility of him going [on a Minor League
rehabilitation assignment] and getting a few at-bats before he joins
us.”

Hafner landed on the disabled list in late July with yet another case of shoulder soreness and was batting a disappointing .267/.368/.430 with nine home runs in 82 games before the injury.  He has not played more than 95 games since 2007, when the Tribe made it all the way to the ALCS and “Pronk” himself was considered a lethal slugger.  Hopefully he can make up for lost time with a strong September.  The 33-year-old is owed $13 million in each of the next two seasons.

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.