Starling Marte was suspended Tuesday morning for 80 games and any postseason games following a positive PED test.
On Tuesday afternoon it was announced that Pirates All-Star outfielder Starling Marte was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Nandrolone.
Marte emerged last year as one of the best young outfielders in baseball. In 2016, Marte played in 129 games with the Pirates. In 529 plate appearances Marte had a .311 batting average and 47 stolen bases.
Marte issued a statement regarding the positive test:
"“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.”"
In just 13 games as the Pirates center fielder this year, the reigning All-Star and Rawling Gold Glove Award winner has hit just .241. Even if the Pirates are fortunate enough to make the playoffs, he will not be eligible for postseason play.
In a statement issued by Pirates President, Frank Coonelly, the organization fully backed Major League Baseball’s drug testing protocol.
Marte will be eligible to come back in mid-July. Whether or not Pittsburgh will still be ion contention remains to be seen. Should the Pirates be able to stay afloat, they would still be without Marte in October, making this even worse for the organization.
With Marte on the suspension list, the Pirates could call up mega-prospect Austin Meadows, providing a minor silver lining in this for the fans. Meadows is universally considered a top prospect across baseball, and the best in Pittsburgh’s system.