The Pittsburgh Pirates starting centerfielder has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for the drug Nandrolone, deemed a Performance-Enhancing substance by the MLB, per Ken Rosenthal.
As a reminder, players receive an 80-game suspension for first violation of drug policy, 162 games for second and lifetime ban for third.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 18, 2017
Marte will start serving the suspension immediately and will also be ineligible for the postseason, if Pittsburgh qualifies later this season. This is clearly massive blow to the Pirates, who were just coming off a three-game sweep of their division rival Cubs, with Marte expected to be a vital part of the teams success.
Marte, released a statement earlier, explaining how he apparently had no clue he had taken the drug.
“I have been informed that I have tested positive in one of the tests that are regularly done in my job. In this very difficult moment I apologize to my family, the Pittsburgh Pirates, my teammates, my fans, and baseball in general. Neglect and lack of knowledge have led me to this mistake with the high price to pay of being away from the field that I enjoy and love so much. With much embarrassment and helplessness, I ask for forgiveness for unintentionally disrespecting so many people who have trusted in my work and have supported me so much. I promise to learn the lesson that this ordeal has left me. God bless you.”
With no Marte, the Pirates will most likely move veteran outfielder Andrew McCuthen back to center and look to possibly promote top outfielding prospect Austin Meadows. However, Meadows has struggled in Triple A to start, slashing .162/.220/.270 in 41 plate appearances.