(CBS) Pirates outfielder Starling Marte has been suspended for 80 games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Marte tested positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance, MLB said. The suspension is a huge blow for the Pirates, as Marte will miss half the season and be ineligible to play in the postseason. He’s the team’s starting center fielder who was coming off an All-Star season in 2016.
Marte apologized for his suspension.
“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 through the union. “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.”
The Pirates are considered one of the Cubs’ biggest challengers in the NL Central.