Houston Astros

Astros pitcher Francis Martes suspended full season for PED

It’s been a rough winter for the Houston Astros, and now pitcher Francis Martes has been suspended for the upcoming season for PED use.

The hits just keep coming for the Houston Astros.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman and multiple other reports, Astros pitcher Francis Martes has been suspended 162 games by MLB for PED use. This is his second offense after he was suspended for a PED violation last March, which resulted in an 80-game suspension.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that Martes tested positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance that will suspend him for the entire 2020 season without pay.

Martes was a possible candidate for a bullpen spot on the Astros and had an outside shot at the team’s fifth starter job as well, as the Houston Chronicle‘s Chandler Rome notes. In a winter that’s been full of bad news, this may be the worst development yet for a franchise that’s been reeling for months now.

Back in November, The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich broke the story about Houston’s sign stealing scandal, which involved using a video camera in center field to film the opposing catchers’ signals to pitchers. Players or team staffers watching the feed in the dugout would then signal what kind of pitch was coming.

These offenses came in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, with the former being the year the Astros won the World Series. As punishment, general manager Jeff Luhnow and field manager A.J. Hinch were suspended for the entire 2020 season before ultimately being fired by the team. The reigning World Series champs were also fined the maximum amount of $5 million and had to give up their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

No players were punished since they were granted immunity by MLB for their cooperation, but this embarrassing incident came just weeks after assistant general manager Brandon Taubman taunted female reporters over the signing of Roberto Osuna, a pitcher previously convicted of domestic violence. He was fired over the incident, but not before the clubhouse incorrectly denied that his comments were directed at those reporters.

Now the PR hits keep coming for the disgraced franchise in the form of this PED suspension. When it rains, it pours.

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