MLB finally came down hard on an Astros player this spring, but it has nothing to do with illegal sign-stealing.
Right-handed pitcher Francis Martes on Monday was suspended 162 games — a full season — without pay after testing positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance, MLB announced.
This is the second PED strike for Martes, who was suspended 80 games last spring after testing positive for another banned substance.
The harsh punishment comes as players and fans around baseball have been calling on commissioner Rob Manfred to further punish the Astros for putting together one of the biggest cheating schemes in sports.
Players were granted immunity from MLB for cooperating in the league investigation, which confirmed Houston illegally stole signs in their 2017 championship season, as well as during parts of the 2018 season.
The Astros were fined $5 million and docked four draft picks for the scandal, while manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended one year each by MLB and subsequently were canned by Houston.
Martes hasn’t pitched since 2017, when he went 5-2 with a 5.80 ERA in 54 ¹/₃ innings, due to Tommy John surgery.