Right-handed pitcher Francis Martes received a 162-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Monday for testing positive for a performing-enhancing substance for the second time.
Martes, who is on the Houston Astros‘ 40-man major league roster but hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2017, tested positive for Boldenone, according to MLB. Boldenone is sold under the brand name Equipose and is used commonly on horses.
Martes, 24, was suspended in March 2019 for 80 games following a positive test for the banned performance-enhancing drug Clomiphene, a women’s fertility drug that has been used by some athletes to counter side effects of steroids use.
Martes did not have a statement, the players’ association said Monday.
“Throughout our system, players are educated through MLB’s drug prevention and treatment programs,” the Astros said in a statement. “We hope that Francis will learn from this experience moving forward.”
He made his MLB debut in June 2017. He was 5-2 with a 5.80 ERA in four starts and 28 relief appearances for the Astros, striking out 69 and walking 31 in 54 1/3 innings.
Martes made four starts for Triple-A Fresno in 2018, hurt his elbow and had Tommy John surgery later in the summer. He made three minor league starts in 2019.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Blue Jays president says 4 weeks of spring training needed before season
TORONTO — With no sign of when training camps can resume, Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro says he thinks Major League Baseball would need at least a month of workouts and exhibition games before regular-season play can begin.
Opening Day has been postponed until at least mid-May because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Knowing that so many players are not even having any access to throwing at all or hitting at all, but most importantly just throwing, and probably limited access to just training and exercise, it’s hard to imagine we could get ready in less than four weeks,” Shapiro said in a teleconference with Toronto reporters.
Shapiro cautioned that training camps aren’t likely to reopen for some time yet.
“I do think that we’re, by and large, waiting for some sort of flattening of the curve and recognition that we have done our best to limit the strain on the healthcare system and the economic system,” he said. “Until that time, the exact outcome and impact on our schedule, and all of the corresponding business that cascades off that, really can’t be determined.
“It certainly looks like we are not dealing with days and likely not weeks, but closer to months,” he said.
Speaking from his Toronto home, where he and his family are isolating themselves, Shapiro said he expects negotiations between Major League Baseball and the players’ union on an industry-wide plan to compensate players for missed games to conclude “in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
All but three of Toronto’s major league players have left the team’s spring training site in Dunedin, Florida. Those that remain are South Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, Japanese right-hander Shun Yamaguchi and right-hander Rafael Dolis, who is from the Dominican Republic.
Shapiro said the three players “did not have any place to go.” They are the only players who maintain access to Toronto’s Florida facilities.
Ryu is accompanied by his wife, who is seven months pregnant.
Shapiro said no Blue Jays players or staff have displayed any symptoms of the new coronavirus, and that no one has been tested.
Some 30 minor league players and four staffers who have been unable to go home are being housed in a Dunedin-area hotel, Shapiro said. Eighteen of those players are from Venezuela, and cannot return home.
Shapiro said Toronto’s big league players have been given individualized workout plans, while minor league players still at the team hotel in Florida have received workouts they can perform in their rooms.
“The physical exercise they can do is as much about mental health and maintaining some semblance of normalcy and routine, and probably a little bit less baseball-specific,” Shapiro said. “There’s almost no one who could maintain game-ready shape in light of circumstances.”
Olney — MLB, union must work together in face of financial challenges
In the face of the looming international crisis that is taking lives, it feels almost disrespectful to ask questions out loud about issues of far less importance. When the priorities are protective masks, accessible testing and increased hospital capacity, most everything else is deferred, or settled out of sight.
Quietly, Major League Baseball officials and the MLB Players Association are working through a laundry list of pending process questions tied to the calendar. What to do about termination pay for players who don’t make 40-man rosters. The draft. The international signing period.
It’s a good thing that it’s all being done out of sight, because there is little appetite for a public debate about how to resolve service-time questions, arbitration and free-agent eligibility. Not when families are huddled in their homes, concerned about jobs, food, loved ones.
In recent years, the relationship between MLB and the union has been worse than at any time since the mid-1990s, the last time the sport was shut down by a labor stoppage. But as a respected former player said Saturday, moving forward, the sides need each other. Collaboration is required under current circumstances and beyond, because the baseball industry may not look anything like it did at the outset of spring training just more than a month ago.
Ten MLB players to follow on social media during the coronavirus shutdown
One of the hurdles Major League Baseball has dealt with during the social media boom has been its schedule. Because of the daily grind of the season, baseball players have largely maintained less active social media profiles than their counterparts in other sports. With the coronavirus pandemic putting most of the world on pause, baseball players unexpectedly find themselves with time off this spring.
They’ve used some of that time to post about this real-life episode of “Black Mirror” that has turned their reality upside down. It’s given fans a glimpse — often silly, sometimes a bit more serious — into an unprecedented situation.
Here are 10 players we think are worth following to keep tabs on how those in the game are dealing with the disruption to the 2020 MLB season and their lives.
Why you should follow him: Among the sport’s most thoughtful voices on the internet, Doolittle has remained characteristically active, whether it’s posting about the pile of books he’s planning on reading while social distancing, sharing videos of his dog, recording a Q&A for fans or getting his hair cut on YouTube by his wife, Eireann Dolan. More importantly, Doolittle has also committed to donating 25,000 meals to help families deal with school closures and employment uncertainty during the pandemic.
Signature post (so far):
Why you should follow him: Long one of baseball’s most eccentric personalities, Pence has been particularly active on social media since social distancing became the cultural norm. Though lighthearted, Pence’s posts stress that “love, kindness, and humanity aren’t taking a break.”
Signature post (so far): Pence’s wife, Alexis, runs a busy YouTube account, where the couple recently posted vlogs of a day of self-quarantine and of their grocery shopping, including Pence’s thoughts on baseball postponing its season and ways not to spread germs.
Why you should follow him: A polarizing personality, Bauer has never been afraid to share his opinions on social media, and the Reds’ righty has taken a unique approach to the pandemic by filming vlogs for YouTube while organizing a recent sandlot game with his media company, Momentum, that made headlines. Through his vlogs, Bauer gives his subscribers a peek into his life and his unfettered thoughts on baseball.
Signature post (so far):
Why you should follow him: In the wake of the Astros sign-stealing scandal, Bregman locked up his comment section on Instagram, but he has opened them back up in recent weeks. Since posting his first TikTok with Internet sensation Charli D’Amelio, Bregman has maintained an active TikTok account where he does everything from dancing to working out to showing off his MLB The Show squad. On Instagram and Twitter, he’s asked Houston “to come together as a community” and is helping to assemble quarantine food kits to help fight the coronavirus.
Signature post (so far):
Why you should follow him: Snell is a prolific Twitch streamer, and he regularly invites his followers to watch him play Fortnite. The setting allows Snell, a former Cy Young winner, to interact in real time with fans. In the early days of the quarantine, Snell has played video games with other big leaguers, such as Gavin Lux and Willie Calhoun. Snell also posted his first TikTok recently.
Signature post (so far):
Why you should follow him: Anderson has social media accounts that are clearly run by the man himself. His tweets and posts showcase his uniquely outspoken perspective. Beginning with the controversy that arose from one of his bat flips, Anderson has emerged as a player who “doesn’t care” about the unwritten rules and hopes to bring fun — and personality — to the sport.
Signature post (so far): Anderson started a YouTube channel this spring, featuring raw montages of his days in spring training, giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his professional life. While the channel has gone quiet since the spread of the coronavirus, don’t expect it to be mute for long.
Why you should follow him: Tatis routinely shares his most fun life moments on his Instagram account, including a road trip to San Diego with teammate Franchy Cordero.
Signature post (so far): While it’s impossible to embed Instagram stories due to their temporary nature, disappearing from accounts after 24 hours, following Tatis there will give you an intimate look at the life of a rising star in a unique era.
Why you should follow him: Stroman updates his fans with what’s on his mind year-round on Twitter, so of course the recent events are no exception. Stroman regularly posts motivational quotes and insights.
Signature post (so far): Stroman began stirring things up on Baseball Twitter on Thursday — and got us dreaming of a brighter future — when he started a conversation about the 2021 World Baseball Classic team for the United States, getting online commitments from three guys on our list — Bauer, Snell and Clevinger — plus Walker Buehler, Trevor Story, Eric Hosmer, Christian Yelich, Nolan Arenado and Pete Alonso. Alonso added he “might cry” if he were named to the American squad.
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) March 19, 2020
Why you should follow him: Dobnak rose into the consciousness of baseball fans last year as the Uber driver turned ALDS starting pitcher. Dobnak maintains a comical Twitter account where he has tweeted — and retweeted others — regularly during the suspension of baseball.
Signature post (so far):
Hey Alexa, what do people typically do during the spring months?
— Randy Dobnak (@Dobnak_) March 17, 2020
Why you should follow him: The Cleveland right-hander likes going back and forth with fans on Twitter, and he emerged as one of the Astros’ most vocal critics online back when sign stealing was the biggest problem on the minds of baseball players. That made him an essential follow before the virus, but there could be even more to come during this quarantine, as Clevinger recently tweeted that he’s looking to start a vlog with teammate Zach Plesac during this time off …
Signature post (so far): … so stay tuned.
— ❂ Mike 𝕊𝕌ℕ𝕊ℍ𝕀ℕ𝔼 Clevinger ❂ (@Mike_Anthony13) March 18, 2020
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