PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pirates have returned home for a much-anticipated series with the New York Yankees this weekend, but it’s also the first home game since the MLB handed down Starling Marte’s suspension.
League officials said earlier this week that Marte tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He was then suspended for 80 games.
Sincen then, Marte has returned to be with his family in the Dominican Republic. He isn’t eligible to come back to the Pirates and until Tuesday, July 18.
Marte did address the team and apologized when the suspension was handed down on Tuesday.
“He got a chance to talk to us. He addressed us in St. Louis and we just told him, ‘You’ve got to keep your head up through this,’” said Josh Harrison, Pirates infielder. “It’s something that he has to go through, and we’re going through it, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to continue to play.”
“We’ve learned so many things from that. I’m nobody to judge anyone because I’m not perfect, and I say, ‘I’m your brother, I’m your family, gonna be here. You need me, I’m here.’ But 80 days is going to go quick, so get ready because we’re going to need you,” Francisco Cervelli, Pirates catcher, said.
The Pirates are trying to replace Marte with a committee of guys.
As the plan stands for the time being, Andrew McCutchen is the centerfielder and Gregory Polanco will stay in left, so right field will be a rotation of four to five guys until Marte is able to play.
Marte’s absence frees up about $2.5 million from the Pirates’ payroll.