Royals sign Brad Penny to a minor league deal

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Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish is reporting that the Royals have signed free agent starter Brad Penny to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Penny will be one of eight pitchers invited to big league camp with the Royals.

After a disappointing 2012 season, in which he posted a 6.11 ERA pitching out of the bullpen with the Giants, Penny took a year off from baseball. According to Cotillo, the 35-year-old right-hander impressed scouts enough to merit a minor league deal. He’ll be working as a starter, but could once again pitch in as a reliever if the Royals deem it necessary.

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.