outfielder has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, it was announced Tuesday.
Marte tested positive for nandrolone, which violated MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension is effective immediately, and Marte is eligible to return in mid-July.
“I have been informed that I have tested positive in one of the tests that are regularly done in my job,” Marte said in a statement released by the Major League Baseball Players Association. “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, a first-time All-Star selection last season, was hitting .241 this season with two home runs and seven RBIs through 13 games. He moved from left field to center field in the offseason after winning his second Gold Glove. The 28-year-old has a .288 career batting average with 60 homers and 242 RBIs in his five-plus seasons with the Pirates.
“We are disappointed that Starling put himself, his teammates and the organization in this position,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. “We will continue to fight for the division title with the men who are here and will look forward to getting Starling back after the All-Star break.”
It is Marte’s first positive test. Under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, he has the option to appeal, in which additional testing will be conducted to prove validity of the original test. If he were to appeal, Marte would be restricted from participation in all baseball activity. If an appeal is granted, the suspension could be reduced by 40 games.
Under a provision added in 2013, a suspended player is not allowed to participate in that year’s postseason even if his suspension ends before then — unless a suspension is reduced on appeal.
All suspensions are without pay. In addition, a suspended player can be replaced on the active roster by another player.