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Storylines: Starling Marte suspended for PEDs

The Pirates lost outfielder Starling Marte for half the season on Tuesday as he was suspended for PED use. That and all the other news and notes from around baseball...

Top Storylines:

- Despite MLB continuing to crack down on PED users, players are still trying to get away with PED usage and are still getting caught.  The latest PED abuser is Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte as he has tested positive for the use of Nandroline, an anabolic steroid, per an announcement from MLB.  He has been suspended for 80 games and is officially ineligible to play in the postseason despite his suspension being up before the playoffs start. It is a heavy blow to the Pirates and their hopes to contend for a playoff spot this year.  Right now the Pirates outfield is in a state of flux.  Longtime center fielder Andrew McCutchen was moved off center field to right field to make way for Marte as the new center fielder for the 2017 season.  The new Bucs’ centerfielder had a stellar year in 2016 as he slashed .311/.362/.456 with nine home runs and 46 RBIs.  He was viewed as a core piece going forward and held a good portion of the Pirates’ postseason hopes on his shoulder.  Now he’s lost for 80 games and the Pirates have some decisions to make.  They could move McCutchen back to center field and put Josh Harrison or Adam Frazier in the corner outfield or they could promote top prospect Austin Meadows or fellow prospect Jose Osuna to take over.  It is a decision that they will carefully think about before making any rash choices but nonetheless is a disappointing position they have been put in and now their season is in serious doubt with the loss of a key player.

Other Storylines:

- Philadelphia Phillies righty Clay Bucholz has undergone surgery to fix a torn flexor pronator mass in his right forearm per Jared Carrabis of CSNNE.  He recently suffered the injury during an outing last week against the Washington Nationals and went to see elbow specialist Dr. James Andrews to get his arm examined.  He is expected to be out from four to six months putting his season in doubt and also all but eliminates the possibility the Philies could have tried to flip him at the deadline to get a nice prospect or two given he was a free agent at the end of the season.

- Toronto Blue Jays southpaw J.A. Happ has hit the 10-day DL with left elbow inflammation per Jon Morosi of MLB Network.  The Blue Jays are reportedly extremely optimistic that Happ won’t be out for very long as the diagnosis could have been a lot worse after he underwent tests for his elbow after experiencing discomfort during an outing.  It seems Happ may have dodged a major bullet.

- Blue Jays star third baseman Josh Donaldson is expected to miss two to four weeks of action with a calf strain per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  He has been dealing with this injury since Spring Training and it is pretty early to say that the estimated timeline will be enough time for Donaldson to heal as it is the type of injury that could be a nagging problem throughout the season if not managed properly.  His absence from the lineup for an extended period of time will certainly hurt the Blue Jays as they are still struggling to find their form as they are off to an alarming 2-10 start to the season.

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