No. 1 pitching prospect Matt Moore joining Rays as reliever

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Matt Moore, the 23-year-old stud pitching prospect who last week finished runner-up to Mike Trout for Baseball America‘s minor league player of the year award, is on his way to Tampa Bay.

With their Wild Card deficit down to 3.5 games the Rays have decided the time is right for Moore to make his big-league debut and the left-hander’s agent told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that he’s expected to fill a bullpen role initially.

Moore projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter and threw 155 innings with a 1.92 ERA, .184 opponents’ batting average, and 210/46 K/BB ratio between Double-A and Triple-A, but the Rays envision him making an immediate impact as a reliever much like David Price did down the stretch (and into the playoffs) in 2008.

Price then, like Moore now, was called up in mid-September after dominating in the minors and made four relief appearances and one start for the Rays, throwing 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA and 12/4 K/BB ratio. And then he made five more appearances as a reliever in the playoffs, finishing all five games while allowing one earned run in 6.2 innings.

With closer Kyle Farnsworth sidelined by an elbow injury manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times: “We’ve got be very open-minded and flexible right now. We can’t have any kind of set parameters. We just can’t.”

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.