La Russa: Edmonds may still be “hobbled”

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The Cardinals signed veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds to a minor league contract earlier this month and gave him an invitation to spring training.

He doesn’t have a guaranteed roster spot and will have to earn his way on to the big league roster with a strong showing in Grapefruit League games. It will be a difficult task, made even more difficult by the fact that he is still in recovery mode from surgery on his Achilles tendon.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa admitted Sunday in spring camp that Edmonds is not quite ready.

“I know the last time I talked to him, he was hobbled,” said La Russa. “You’ve got to see when he’s available to show what he can do and then you start figuring. But the last time I heard, he still was not ready.”

Maybe Edmonds will be open to beginning the season in Triple-A Memphis or on the big league disabled list. The 40-year-old is sitting on 393 career home runs at the moment and hoping to eclipse 400 before filing retirement papers. If he’s healthy, the Cardinals will use him as a backup to Lance Berkman in right field. If he’s not healthy, Jon Jay should have a major league roster spot.

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.