In early June the Rays signed Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz to a minor-league contract that included a unique stipulation where they had to decide by mid-November whether to give him a four-year, $4 million deal or let him go.
At the time of the initial signing Ruiz was viewed as a solid prospect and potential replacement for free agent Carlos Pena at first base, but today the Rays declined their option and released the 26-year-old.
Ruiz is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, hit just .272 with one homer and a .706 OPS in 23 games at Double-A despite being old for the level of competition
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.