From beat writer Tom Singer of MLB.com comes word that right-hander A.J. Burnett is scheduled to join the Pirates’ starting rotation after making one final rehab start Saturday at Double-A Altoona.
Burnett has been on the shelf since suffering a fractured right orbital bone while performing a bunting drill in spring training. He’s made three minor league rehab starts thus far, and hasn’t experienced any lingering issues in or around his right eye.
The 35-year-old was acquired from the Yankees in February for a couple of minor leaguers and cash. He posted a 5.15 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 173/83 K/BB ratio in 190 1/3 innings last year for New York.
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.