Ruben Amaro doesn’t sound like he’s in a hurry to deal Joe Blanton

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The Phillies are still actively shopping Joe Blanton, but general manager Ruben Amaro told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he has no sense of urgency to make a deal for salary relief.

“I really don’t have to do anything,” he said. “We’ll see whether it makes some sense to increase some flexibility for us for later on, but at some point, as I’ve said, we’ve just got to see what we’ve got in Spring Training and move on from there.”

Blanton is owed $8.5 million in both 2011 and 2012, so dealing him would provide the Phillies with some much needed payroll flexibility, not only at the trade deadline this year, but for next offseason, as well.

Amaro rarely reveals anything in his comments to the media, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s simply holding out until Carl Pavano finally signs a contract. Assuming the Phillies would be willing to eat some of his salary, Blanton could make some sense for pitching-starved teams like the Nationals, Pirates and Royals, all of whom have reportedly expressed varying degrees of interest in Pavano this winter.

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.