Orioles option Zach Britton to Double-A Bowie following disaster start

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As Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun tells us, the Orioles made a bit of a surprise move today by sending rookie left-hander Zach Britton to Double-A Bowie to make room for left-hander Mark Hendrickson on the active roster.

The move comes on the heels of Britton giving up a career-high seven runs over just two-thirds of an inning in last night’s blowout loss to the Red Sox.

Britton, 23, is 6-7 with a 4.05 ERA over 18 starts this season, but has allowed 17 runs in 17 1/3 innings over his last four starts. There’s a very real chance that he’s hitting a bit of a wall right now. He’s currently at 104 1/3 innings and is on pace for just under 200 innings. His previous professional high was 153 1/3 innings between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk last season.

Zrebiec writes that Britton is slated to pitch “a couple of innings” for Double-A Bowie on the 15th and should be back up in the Orioles’ rotation by the 30th. Not only is it a strategic decision to delay his service time, but it puts him in position to make it through most of September with the big club.

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.