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The Pittsburgh Pirates suffered a major blow Tuesday afternoon and I’m not talking about their second consecutive 2-1 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Outfielder Starling Marte, arguably the Pirates best offensive and defensive player, was suspended for 80 games for violation of the league’s joint drug agreement.

After the announcement of his suspension, Marte released this statement posted on the Pirates official twitter account:

Pirates President Frank Coonelly followed up with a statement of his own:

The suspension, which will keep Marte out of action until after the all-star break, puts the Bucs in a difficult position. It comes at a time when their offense is struggling to produce runs while the pitching has been nothing short of fantastic in the last week or so.

With Andrew McCutchen returning to center field and Gregory Polanco, who has battled injuries early on in the season, manning left field, questions surround the right field position. The Bucs did call up Jose Osuna following the news of Marte’s suspension, which definitely could help soothe the pain. They also have right field options in Adam Frazier, Josh Harrison and John Jaso.

Those three will be entrusted to fill in while Marte is gone, but let’s face it, they aren’t Starling Marte.

If the Pirates wanted to go to the extreme, they could even call up top outfield prospect Austin Meadows, but I doubt that’s a move they’re willing to make at this time.

There is no doubt the loss of Marte hurts the Bucs. He’s their best offensive weapon and they need him now more than ever. It’s hard to think about how the Pirates will fare without him for a majority of the season, but it is what it is. The Bucs indeed have pieces in place to fill the void and those pieces will get an opportunity while Marte serves his time.

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Jose Negron

Jose Negron is a 22 year old journalist from the North Huntingdon area. A recent graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, Jose has written for Rumbunter and Pirates Breakdown for the past year. He is the former Editor in Chief and Sports Editor of Cal U's campus newspaper, the Cal Times. He also covers high school sports for the Mon Valley Independent and serves as a contributor for Pittsburgh Sporting News, covering the Pirates. During the summer of 2015, he also interned with TribLive Radio, writing for their online blog, helping in the production of various radio shows and even appearing on the air.
  • Daniel Decker

    no way they call up Meadows. He’s no where near ready yet. He needs at least a few hundred more AB in AAA. Maybe next year. I wonder if I can get my money back from my season tickets is what I was thinking yesterday when I woke up to this news, There is about 0% of winning the division now unless every other player on the team plays above their normal production. I can’t see it happening. Makes me sad, and angry at Marte.