Joey Votto begins rehab assignment, eyes weekend return

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Joey Votto kicked off his minor-league rehab assignment by going 0-for-1 with a walk yesterday at Single-A, saying afterward: “It was good, but I still have a ways to go.”

He’ll be back in Dayton’s lineup today and if all goes well Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Votto will likely come off the disabled list at some point this weekend.

Votto hasn’t played since mid-July knee surgery and needed a second operation after suffering a setback, but the Reds have a great record in his absence and rookie Todd Frazier in particular has really stepped up to provide big-time production.

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.