MLB announces Tony La Russa will manage All-Star game

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Tony La Russa stepped down as Cardinals manager on October 31, calling it quits after 33 seasons, 2,728 wins, and three championships, but being retired won’t keep him from managing this year’s All-Star game.

Pennant-winning managers get the honor of managing the next season’s All-Star game and MLB announced that La Russa will manage the National League team in July.

And there should be plenty of Cardinals fans in attendance, as the game will be played at Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City. And presumably they’ll make sure the bullpen phone is working.

In previous years when the pennant-winning skipper is unavailable to manage the All-Star game for whatever reason the league’s runner-up manager gets the nod, which would have been Ron Roenicke of the Brewers. However, there’s precedent for the La Russa situation, as Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh retired following a World Series win in 1971 and came back to manage the All-Star game in 1972.

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.