Astros RHP Martes suspended 80 games after failed drug test

The Sports Xchange

March 12, 2019 at 11:41 pm.

Injured Houston Astros right-handed pitcher Francis Martes has received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for Clomiphene, a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.

The Astros said in a statement Tuesday that they “hope that Francis can learn from this experience and that he returns to have a successful career.”

Clomiphene is an anti-estrogen substance used in fertility treatments and employed by men to accelerate testosterone production. It is taken along with steroids to inhibit estrogen problems. It is not FDA-approved for use by men, according to the USDA, and has been placed on the list of banned substances.

Martes underwent Tommy John surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last Aug. 15, and was not scheduled to return until the second half of the season, at the earliest. His suspension will begin at the start of the 2019 regular season.

Martes, 23, was shut down in June without appearing for the Astros throughout 2018 with what general manager Jeff Luhnow called a right elbow injury.

He is the second player to be suspended under the major league drug program this year, following Kansas City Royals pitcher Eric Skoglund, who is also out for 80 games after testing positive for selective androgen receptor modulators.

Martes, considered Houston’s top prospect entering 2017, went 5-2 with a 5.80 ERA in 32 games (four starts) for the Astros in 2017, with 69 strikeouts and 31 walks in 54 1/3 innings, though he was not on the postseason roster that made a run to the World Series title.

Last season at the minor league level, he went 0-1 with a 6.41 ERA in five games (all starts), with four of those starts for Triple-A Fresno. After hurting his elbow, Martes made a one-inning injury rehabilitation appearance for the Gulf Coast Astros on Aug. 2.

Martes arrived in Houston via trade with the Miami Marlins in 2014 after signing with Miami as an international free agent in November 2012. He entered 2017 as Baseball America’s 15th-ranked prospect.

His suspension is the second in three years by an Astros player for a performance-enhancing substance. David Paulino, a right-handed pitcher who was eventually dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays, received an 80-game suspension during the 2017 season after testing positive for Boldenone.

–Field Level Media