Astros pitcher banned 162 games for doping


Los Angeles (AFP)

Houston Astros pitcher Francis Martes was hit with a 162-game suspension on Monday after failing a drug test for the second time in just over a year, Major League Baseball announced.

The 24-year-old Dominican pitcher was banned for the entire 2020 regular season after testing positive for the prohibited anabolic steroid Boldenone.

The failed drug test comes after Martes was given an 80-game suspension in March 2019 for testing positive for the testosterone-boosting fertility drug Clomiphene.

Martes was a member of the Astros pre-season training camp but was not expected to make the team's opening day roster.

The Astros, who have been reeling from the sign-stealing scandal that led to the dismissal of manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, expressed disappointment at Martes' conduct.

"Throughout our system, players are educated through MLB's Drug Prevention and Treatment Programs," the Astros said in a statement.

"It is disappointing when any player is in violation of the policies that are in place. We hope that Francis will learn from this experience moving forward."