After serving suspension, Chicago White Sox's Castillo gets back to work

 
 
Posted9/12/2018 1:00 AM
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  • Chicago White Sox's Welington Castillo stands in the dugout prior to his return to the majors following a performance-enhancing drug suspension in a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers during Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Chicago.

    Chicago White Sox's Welington Castillo stands in the dugout prior to his return to the majors following a performance-enhancing drug suspension in a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers during Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Chicago.

Stepping to the plate for the first time in a long time in a Labor Day game against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field, Welington Castillo was greeted with near silence from the crowd.

An optimist would say, "Hey, at least they weren't booing."

Understandably, there was no applause either from Chicago White Sox fans who have had little to cheer about over a stretch that is soon to be six straight losing seasons.

The Castillo case is a little more personal.

As he admitted back on May 24, when he was suspended for 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, Castillo "let many people down, including my family, my teammates, the White Sox organization and its fans."

The 31-year-old catcher was still sincere about his error in judgment when he returned to the Sox last week, and all he can do is try to make the most of the rest of the season.

"I'm going to continue to do my job and try to help as much as I can every time I have the opportunity behind the plate," Castillo said. "And when I'm not playing, I'm going to try to help them on the bench, talk to them with the little bit of experience that I have and try to make them feel like they belong here.

"I know we won't go anywhere (in the postseason), win the division, but we can take a lot of positive stuff in this last month, especially for those young guys. I'm going to try to do my job and help them as much as I can to be ready for next year."

Signed to a two-year, $15 million contract on Dec. 1, Castillo was seen as a great fit on a rebuilding team. Most important, he was going to help develop young starting pitchers such as Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech.

Castillo wasn't able to help anyone from May 24-Sept. 2, but he was welcomed back with open arms after serving his suspension.

"It's important to have him in there," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He's a part of who we are right now. He brings a lot of experience. There are some things you see him doing that stand out a little bit. We're glad to have him back."

When Castillo was out, Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith split catching duties. They both have produced with the bat but still are gaining experience handling s pitching staff and throwing out basestealers.

"Narvy and Smitty have done a really nice job," Renteria said. "I don't want to take that away from them. Getting Wely back, I think there are a lot of catchers that are very insightful in how they approach, see swings and things of that nature. They go through the reports, they understand the pitchers' strengths and weaknesses, and they're able to do things in certain situations. I think that comes with experience."

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