Sports

Astros Pitcher Francis Martes Suspended 80 Games for PED Use

Francis Martes was suspended 80 games by MLB, but he would have likely missed them anyway for rehab.
Francis Martes was suspended 80 games by MLB, but he would have likely missed them anyway for rehab. Photo by Jack Gorman
At the start of another season, the Astros have lost another young pitcher to a performance-enhancing drug suspension. Last year it was Forrest Whitley. This year, Francis Martes. Much like last year, it is unlikely to affect the team.

MLB announced on Tuesday that Martes was being suspended for 80 games after testing positive for Clomiphine, a fertility drug that is not FDA approved for men because it can increase testosterone levels. Much like last Whitley's suspension last season, however, it is unlikely to change the Astros roster. Martes was already expected to be out most of the season, perhaps all of it, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. The suspension will run concurrently with his rehab.

Martes, 23, last pitched in 32 games in 2017 as part of the World Series championship team. He was 5-2 with a 5.80 ERA. The team said in a statement, "We hope that Francis can learn from this experience and that he returns to have a successful career."

Few expected Martes to compete for a spot in the rotation or bullpen this season, but it is another setback for the young right hander and places another question mark on the career of a young Astros pitching prospect.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke