Houston Astros pitcher Francis Martes has been suspended for the entire 2020 MLB season, i.e. 162 games after testing positive for banned performance-enhancing drug (PED) - Boldenone. The 24-year-old's career has come to an abrupt halt after receiving his second ban for abuse of PEDs. Francis Martes was previously handed an 80-game suspension during the 2019 season after testing positive for Clomifene.
Francis Martes, Astros pitcher, suspended 162 games for PED. 2nd offense. Rough stretch for Astros.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 17, 2020
Reports in the US suggest Francis Martes has been banned for the upcoming season without pay for violating Major League Baseball's Drug Prevention and Treatment Programs.
Having made his debut back in 2017, Francis Martes' career in MLB failed to really take off. Martes went 5-2 (win-loss) during the 2017 MLB season to register 5.80 Earned Run Average (ERA) and 69 strikeouts. A highly-rated prospect at Astros, the 24-year-old has not played a game since 2017. He underwent an Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery (widely known as Tommy John surgery) in 2018 before missing the 2019 season with suspension.
Houston Astros, who are themselves embroiled in a scandal, released a statement after Francis Martes' suspension.
Astros statement on Martes: pic.twitter.com/bpQ9t8n5M5— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 17, 2020
Alex Bregman: “I am really sorry about the choices that were made by me team, by the organization and by me. I’ve learned from this and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans.” pic.twitter.com/wvv06WPU7M— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 13, 2020
Astros' sign-stealing controversy has brought a lot of negative attention towards the MLB. MLB concluded its investigation to state the scandal was a player-driven system where backroom officials used illegal electronics to decode signs during the game. MLB handed a $5 million fine to Houston Astros while handing suspensions to former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, manager A.J. Hinch and assistant GM Brandon Taubman. However, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly granted players immunity in exchange for their cooperation in the investigation.