PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Starling Marte has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
The league said Tuesday that Marte tested positive for the steroid Nandrolone. He will be eligible to return in mid-July.
Pirates OF Starling Marte suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance.
— MLB (@MLB) April 18, 2017
Pirates President Frank Coonelly said in a statement that he is “disappointed” that “Starling put himself, his teammates and the organization in this position.”
Statement from Pirates President Frank Coonelly. pic.twitter.com/c6APCxtrcb
— Pirates (@Pirates) April 18, 2017
Marte has released this statement:
“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.”
Marte was an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2016 and moved from left field to center field in the off-season after winning his second Gold Glove. The 28-year-old is hitting .241 with two home runs and seven RBI this season.
The Pirates began Tuesday 6-7 through the first two weeks of the 2017 season.
Many fans were disappointed that such a promising player would put the team in such a tough position.
“I just can’t believe that people can do this. These guys have it all, so why screw up with the drugs? I don’t understand that at all,” Pirates fan Coleen Henderson said.
“I mean, give me a million dollars and I’ll be drug free for 10-15 years,” Pirates fan, Dave Henderson, said.
One fan said he’s now more worried than ever for the Pirates’ post-season chances.
“Playoffs are gonna be a stretch this year, at this point, especially with your number one hitter and outfielder out for most of the season now,” Pirates fan, Chris Edgar, said.
The Tribune-Review’s Pirates beat writer Rob Biertempfel tells the “KDKA Morning News” Marte addressed the whole team on Wednesday.
“A lot of the [players] said they really appreciated the fact that he was there and met them face to face and said, ‘Look, this is what I did, I screwed up,’” said Biertempfel.
After he apologized to the team, Biertempfel says the players didn’t place blame or point fingers.
“The messages I got from a lot of the players…there was not [really] any finger pointing, there was not any anger. There was a lot of, ‘The guy made a mistake.’ ‘We still have his back, we’re still teammates,’” said Biertempfel.
While they didn’t point fingers at Marte, Biertempfel says they are still disappointed in losing one of their top players and know it will be hard to overcome his loss.
The team recalled OF/INF José Osuna from AAA Indianapolis following news of the suspension. He was active for Tuesday evening’s game in St. Louis.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)