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White Sox catcher Castillo gets 80-game baseball doping ban

Welington Castillo of the Chicago White Sox laughs as he approaches the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2018 (AFP Photo/Tom Szczerbowski)

Chicago (AFP) - Chicago White Sox catcher Welington Castillo was suspended for 80 games on Thursday by Major League Baseball after testing positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance Erythropoietin (EPO).

The 31-year-old Dominican, batting .267 with 12 runs scored, 15 runs batted in and six home runs this season, would be eligible to return for the White Sox in late August.

"The Chicago White Sox were saddened and disappointed to learn of the suspension of catcher Welington Castillo for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," team general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement.

"Welington has apologized to the team and his teammates and has taken full responsibility for his actions. He understands that he has negatively affected the team and has fallen short of the expectations we have of our players."

Castillo is in his ninth major league campaign since debuting in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs, also playing for Seattle, Arizona and Baltimore before signing a two-year deal with the White Sox last December.

Castillo admitted taking EPO and issued an apology in a statement released by the MLB Players Association.

"The positive test resulted from an extremely poor decision that I, and I alone, made," Castillo said. "I take full responsibility for my conduct. I have let many people down, including my family, my teammates, the White Sox organization and its fans and from my heart I apologize.

"Following my suspension, I look forward to rejoining my teammates and doing whatever I can to help the White Sox win."

The White Sox are last in the American League Central division and have the second-worst record in Major League Baseball at 15-31, with only Baltimore worse at 15-34.