The Pirates announced on Tuesday afternoon that outfielder Starling Marte has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after violating the league’s Joint Drug Agreement. Marte tested positive for Nandrolone, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Team president Frank Coonelly released a statement:
Marte also released a statement in which he says he tested positive due to “neglect and lack of knowledge,” Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. As Abraham points out, Nandrolone is an injection-only steroid.
Though Marte was off to a slow start, mustering just a .659 OPS in his first 13 games, he is arguably the Pirates’ best player. Losing Marte, an All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner, for half the season puts a serious damper on the Pirates’ dream of contending in the NL Central. The club entered Tuesday 6-7, tied for third-place in the division with the Cubs. If the Pirates were to reach the postseason anyway, Marte would be ineligible.
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Steven Souza dove for a ball in a spring training game last night, missed, and ended up injuring his right shoulder.
It looked bad, too. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson stood over him, frantically waving to the dugout for a trainer as Souza kicked his legs in apparent pain. Souza held his arms awkwardly as he walked off the field. At the moment the Dbacks are calling it a right shoulder strain, but he’ll get an MRI on it today after which a more specific diagnosis will come.
If Souza is out for a while it’s a pretty big blow to Arizona’s 2018 plan. Souza was acquired to help cushion the blow of losing J.D. Martinez in free agency. While not the hitter Martinez is, Souza hit 30 homers in Tampa Bay last year, stood likely to at least match that in the more hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field and, of course, plays superior defense.
Potential replacements for Souza include moving David Peralta from left to right and inserting Yasmany Tomas in left or having fourth outfielder Dyson, or perhaps a platoon of Dyson and utilityman Chris Owings, handle right. Socrates Brito is another internal option.
Obviously the Snakes will wait to hear the results of the MRI before going too deeply into replacement plans, all the while hoping that Souza’s injury is far less serious than it appeared to be last night.