Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug called Nandrolone. The MLB announced the news earlier today, with the suspension taking effect immediately.
Marte has emerged as one of the league’s rising stars over the past year. The 28-year old All-Star outfielder won a Gold Glove in 2016. The Pirates were so confident in Marte’s potential that they decided to move franchise player Andrew McCutchen from center to right field in the off season. Last year, Marte batted .311 with a .362 on-base percentage and stole 47 bases.
Unfortunately, Marte will be out of action for approximately half the season after testing positive for Nandrolone, a PED classified as an anabolic steroid. Nandrolone is well-known in the baseball community: the drug made headlines in 2011 during Barry Bonds’ perjury trial related to the BALCO scandal.
Nandrolone is also known as Deca-Durabolin.
Marte released a statement through the MLB Players’ Association where he expressed culpability and ignorance in testing positive:
“I have been informed that I have tested positive in one of the tests that are regularly done in my job. 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 native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is the first player on an MLB roster to get suspended under the league’s new Joint Drug Agreement.
How Does Nandrolone Work?
Nandrolone is a synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) derived from testosterone. It’s a type of injectable testosterone created in a lab. It’s known under a number of different names and derivatives, including 19-nortestosterone, Deca-Durabolin, Eubolin, Retabolil, and Fenobolin.
The drug has powerful effects on the human body: it increases muscle growth, stimulates the appetite, and boosts red blood cell production. Outside of PED use, the drug is used to treat anemia and even some forms of breast cancer.
One of the reasons why Nandrolone is popular is because it isn’t linked with the same side effects as traditional steroid usage: Nandroline is not potentiated in your scalp, skin, and prostate like other androgenic tissues – so you don’t get the shrunken testicles, gynecomastia, and balding you get with other PEDs. However, side effects are still present, and dangerous side effects can still occur at large doses.
Nandrolone isn’t new to the world of sports: the drug has been used as a doping agent since the 1960s. The Olympics officially banned the drug in 1974.
Starling Marte isn’t the first high-profile athlete to test positive for Nandrolone: the drug has been spotted across athletes of all sports. UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie once tested positive, for example, as did former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens.
Most recently, New York Mets minor league pitcher Derrick Bernard received a 62 game suspension after testing positive for Nandrolone. Pirates Starling Marte, however, is one of the biggest names to have ever been caught using the performance enhancing drug.
Stay tuned for more information about Starling Marte’s PED suspension as the story continues to break.