The Oakland Athletics acquisition of outfielder Starling Marte couldn’t have come at a better time. On Friday, Major League Baseball announced that Ramón Laureano has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance that violates the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Prior to the suspension, Laureano had appeared in 88 games, compiling 341 at-bats. In that time he was slashing .246/.317/.443 with 14 home runs, 39 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. In six games since joining the A’s, Marte is on a hot streak. Across 25 at-bats, he is slashing .360/.429/.520.
The A’s are currently four games back of the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West. Oakland holds the second wild card berth, 2.5 back of the Boston Red Sox and 1.5 up on the New York Yankees. They are opening a three-game home series with the Texas Rangers before heading to Cleveland, Texas, and Chicago on a ten-game road trip.
The MLB Players’ Association released the following statement on Laureano’s behalf upon word of the suspension:
“I would never knowingly ingest any banned substance and put the game that I’ve loved all my life at risk. When I found out that I tested positive for nandrolone, I was shocked. I take great care of my body and have an extremely regimented diet. Based on the minuscule amount that was briefly in my body, I’ve learned that it is likely that it was contamination of something I ingested.
“I have been educated about PEDs through the RBI program and Baseball Factory while growing up. I know I don’t need any of that to perform on the baseball field. All my athletic success has come from my hard work, focus and dedication to the game.
“I’d like to apologize for the distraction that this might cause my teammates, Billy Beane, David Forst, and the entire Oakland organization, community, and fan base.
“I am devastated. Anyone who truly knows me as a person knows how much I love the game and that I would never intentionally do something like this.”