Brandon Phillips still out of Reds’ lineup Sunday

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From Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette comes word that Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is out of the starting lineup again for Sunday’s series-finale against the Pirates.

Wilson Valdez will get the nod in his place, batting seventh against Bucs right-hander A.J. Burnett.

Phillips hasn’t started a game this month due to a left calf strain that he suffered near the end of July. But he is still expected to avoid the 15-day disabled list and should return at some point early this week.

The 31-year-old is hitting .296 with a .793 OPS, 13 home runs and 62 RBI in 92 games this season.

Cincinnati has the best record in baseball and leads Pittsburgh by 5 1/2 games in the NL Central standings.

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.