Pirates' Marte to play in minors as drug ban nears end


Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte slides to catch a line drive by St. Louis Cardinals’ Dexter Fowler to end the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 17, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Pirates outfielder Starling Marte began a minor league rehab assignment Sunday as he nears the end of his drug suspension.
Marte began his rehab stint with Class A Bradenton. The 28-year-old is serving an 80-game ban after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. He is eligible to return to the majors July 18.
Marte’s last game with the Pirates was April 17. He is hitting .241 with two homers and two stolen bases.
After winning two Gold Glove Awards in left field, Marte supplanted star Andrew McCutchen in center field to begin this season. McCutchen has returned to center in Marte’s absence, and manager Clint Hurdle said that Marte may play either left or center when he returns.


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