Scot Shields retires after 10 years as elite, underrated reliever

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Scot Shields was said to be pondering retirement throughout the offseason and the longtime Angels setup man officially called it quits today after a 10-year career in which he threw 697 innings with a 3.18 ERA.

Because he never got a chance to be a full-time closer Shields was almost always overlooked during discussions of the game’s top relievers, but his seven-year run from 2002-2008 was remarkable in its consistent excellence.

In those seven seasons he won 45 games with a 2.98 ERA while logging an average of 90 innings per year, striking out 573 batters while allowing just 520 hits.

Even with two ineffective, injury wrecked seasons to end his career Shields still finishes with a 3.18 ERA, which trails only Mariano Rivera (2.23), Billy Wagner (2.31), Francisco Rodriguez (2.50), Joe Nathan (2.75), and Trevor Hoffman (2.87) among active (as of 2010) relievers with at least 500 innings. He was an incredibly durable, elite reliever who rarely got the credit he deserved because of the game’s obsession with saves.

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.