Pirates hitting coach Gregg Ritchie stepping down to take college job

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Pirates hitting coach Gregg Ritchie will not return for 2013 and will instead take a job as the new head coach at his alma mater, George Washington University.

Ritchie has spent seven years in the Pirates’ organization and was promoted to hitting coach in November of 2010. In two seasons under his coaching Pittsburgh’s offense has ranked 10th and 14th in the 16-team National League.

Brink notes that Ritchie denied rumors that he was leaving the Pirates to take the GW job back in August. Good thing, too, or else maybe the Pirates would have been distracted and their performance would have suffered down the stretch or something.

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.