Starling Marte has been a consistent force in the Pirates lineup and outfield since becoming a full-time big-league player in 2017, but that’s now on hold. Marte was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for violating its PED policy, as he tested positive for Nandrolone.
Marte is not claiming innocence in the matter but did release a statement with an apology:
"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."
This suspension is the first for Marte, hence the 80 games, and it’s effective immediately. The Pirates are going to miss Marte in the lineup, given he hit .292/.349/.448 for a 119 OPS+ over the last four years and already had an uphill battle planned against the Cubs and Cardinals even with Marte around for the entire year.
Of course, even if the Pirates manage to make it to the postseason, Marte won’t be eligible to play thanks to how PED suspensions work in MLB.