During the White Sox matinee, Welington Castillo quietly returned to the lineup and contributed to the win against the Detroit Tigers.
The veteran White Sox catcher last played on May 23 in a game against his former team, the Baltimore Orioles.
Prior to his suspension, Castillo was doing rather well with the Sox. His batting slash was .267/.309/.466 with 5 doubles, 6 home runs, and 15 RBI. His fielding percentage was 1.000.
Castillo actually played a few games with Triple-A Charlotte on a rehab assignment for inflammation in his right shoulder, according to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.
We all know what has happened with the White Sox since he left. And, we know that the team has played well in August. Now that September is here and the veteran catcher is back, what will his role on the team be?
Since Castillo has been gone, Omar Narvaez has stepped up his game. Before May 23, Narvaez was batting .180/.275/.246 with two doubles and one RBI in 70 plate appearances. After Castillo’s departure, Narvaez batted an impressive .321/.409/.500 with 10 doubles, 1 triple, 6 home runs, and 23 RBI in his 56 games between May 24 and September 1.
With those numbers, it should be hard for Rick Renteria to give more time to Castillo over Narvaez.
Then, there’s Kevan Smith. He joined the Sox in early June and has been a good right-handed batter to platoon with Narvaez, who bats from the left. Smith’s slash in 38 games is .285/.344/.336.
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According to Merken’s article on MLB.com, Renteria has plans to keep all three catchers on the roster. He also plans to give Narvaez time on the corners to get his bat into the lineup more often. Castillo has a two-year deal with the White Sox and was signed because the team wanted his veteran experience with the young pitching rotation.
In Monday’s game against the Tigers, Castillo went 1-4 with a single in the ninth inning. He struck out once. His single in the ninth ended up being the hit that helped the Sox win the game. It wasn’t a game winner, but it helped tie the game. Unfortunately, Castillo did not get to cross home plate as Renteria put speedy Ryan Cordell in to pinch run for him. Renteria’s thought was good, but the pinch runner was inevitably not needed as Matt Davidson followed Castillo with a two-run walk-off home run.
With the Castillo’s return to the lineup, only two position players are missing from the team that Rick Hahn built for 2018. Jose Abreu and Leury Garcia are still out of the lineup. The pitching staff is also missing a few players that are not expected to return to the lineup in 2018: Danny Farquhar, Miguel Gonzalez, and Nate Jones.