MLB.com’s Bill Ladson and Daniel Popper report that the Nationals have shut down top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito for the season, part of the organization’s protocol for handling pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery. Giolito was the Nationals’ first-round pick, 16th overall, in the 2012 draft.
Entering the season, Giolito rated as the #13 prospect in baseball according to Baseball Prospectus, #21 by Baseball America, and #44 by MLB.com. The right-hander, who pitched in the 2014 Futures Game at Target Field in July, pitched 98 innings over 20 starts with Single-A Hagerstown. The 20-year-old posted a 2.20 ERA with a 110/28 K/BB ratio.
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.