Joakim Soria throws for first time since elbow surgery

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From Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star comes word that Royals right-hander Joakim Soria played catch on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in April.

Soria made 25 throws from a distance of 45 feet and reported no issues during or after the short workout.

He is hoping to be ready for the start of the 2013 season, but that would require a speedier recovery than normal. What’s more likely is that he will be cleared to return at some point in late April or early May.

Jonathan Broxton served as the Royals’ primary closer this summer before being traded to the Reds. Greg Holland then took over, flashing signs of dominance. Soria carries an $8 million club option for next season.

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.