Starling Marte will not return to center field upon return from suspension

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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.