A.J. Burnett still hasn’t decided if he’s retiring, so the Pirates keep waiting

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Two weeks ago Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage said he was assuming that A.J. Burnett will retire, but the 37-year-old right-hander has yet to make a decision with less than a month until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Searage reached out to Burnett in an effort to learn of his plans, but hasn’t heard back. General manager Neal Huntington has been speaking to Burnett’s agent, referring to the situation as “still working through the process.”

Burnett indicated early in the offseason that he’ll either call it quits or re-sign with the Pirates, which means Pittsburgh must be willing to spend another $10-$15 million in payroll and boot someone from the current rotation if he opts to return. They’d gladly do both given that Burnett was one of the best pitchers in the league last season, but it’s still putting the team in a tough spot.

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.