As if the Astros needed anything else controversial to deal with, the team announced Monday that pitcher Francis Martes has been suspended 162 games for the use of a performance-enhancing drug, in this case something called Boldenone. This is the 24-year-old's second offense in two seasons. In 2019, he got an 80-game suspension for Clomiphine, a fertility drug that can increase testosterone production in men.
The silver lining is that Martes was not really expected to be a factor for the major league club this year. He had not pitched at the big league level since 2017 though some thought he had an outside chance of landing a bullpen spot or fifth start job.
No doubt there were plenty around baseball who saw "Astro suspended" and had fantasies it would be for the sign-stealing scandal still rocking the baseball world. With spring training open around the league, plenty of players weighing in on the controversy, many rather harshly as expected. That comes with news that the league serious considered taking the title away from the 2017 and the social media rumor mill spinning tales of electronic buzzers and other such nonsense.
Let's just say it hasn't been a great start to spring training for the 'Stros.
While the Martes suspension should have little impact on the field, it is yet another question to be answered about something that has nothing to do with actual baseball. Fans and players will certainly be thrilled when games are played but, for now, it's another annoying moment in Astros baseball.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.