Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was suspended 80 games on April 18 after testing positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance. He’s eligible to return on July 18, just after the All-Star break, but will not play center field, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
The Pirates’ front office determined, going into the 2017 season, that the best defensive alignment had Marte in center field, Andrew McCutchen in right field, and Gregory Polanco in left. When Marte was suspended, however, McCutchen moved back to center field. Polanco moved back to right field near the end of May.
Manager Clint Hurdle said that left field is “where [Marte] needs to fit in.”
GM Neal Huntington said, “We felt that was the best alignment for this club in this situation. We’ve got a young man who recognizes he’s got work to do, who recognizes he’s put himself in a situation where he needs to earn people’s trust and respect back again. But we’ve also got a young man who’s driven to fold himself back into this club, earn his way back and help this club win games.”
Prior to the suspension, Marte was hitting .241/.288/.370 with two home runs and seven RBI in 59 plate appearances. He has won a Gold Glove Award in each of the last two seasons and made his first All-Star Game last year.
Newly acquired third baseman Todd Frazier spent his first five games with the Yankees on the road, playing once in Minnesota and four games in Seattle. He was set to take his first at-bat as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night against the Reds. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go how he likely expected them.
The Yankees quickly loaded the bases on consecutive singles from Matt Holliday, Didi Gregorius, and Chase Headley to lead off the bottom of the second inning. That brought up Frazier in his first at-bat at Yankee Stadium. He got ahead in the count 3-1 against Luis Castillo before hitting a sharp grounder to shortstop Jose Peraza. Gregorius went back to second base because he thought the ball had a chance to be caught on a line. Peraza stepped on the second base bag, then fired to first base for the double play. Votto then threw across the diamond to Eugenio Suarez at third base, catching Gregorius out in no man’s land. Holliday scored in the meantime, breaking a 0-0 tie, but Gregorius was eventually called out for running out of the base line in a run down.
Frazier entered the evening with just two hits (both singles) and one walk in 18 plate appearances as a Yankee.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Brewers have agreed to a deal with the White Sox for reliever Anthony Swarzak. The White Sox will receive 3B/OF Ryan Cordell in return.
It’s no secret that the 53-48 first-place Brewers are on the hunt for relief help. While closer Corey Knebel has been great, the Brewers have been shaky leading up to the ninth inning as Carlos Torres owns a 4.65 ERA and Oliver Drake 5.05.
Swarzak, 31, has posted a 2.23 ERA with a 52/13 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings this season. He can become a free agent after the season.
Cordell, 25, hit .284/.349/.506 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He’s the Brewers’ No. 17 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.