Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Houston Astros pitcher Francis Martes has been suspended without pay for 162 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
Major League Baseball announced the suspension Monday. Martes was also suspended March 12 for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. His latest ban came after testing positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid. His March test showed a positive result for Clomiphene, a women's fertility drug sometimes used by athletes to limit the side effects from using steroids.
"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. The Astros continue to fully support Major League Baseball's drug prevention and treatment programs."
Martes was ranked as one of the top prospects in baseball in 2017. He posted a 5-2 record and 5.80 ERA in 32 games for the Astros in 2017. The 24-year-old posted an 6.75 ERA and 0-2 record in three games last season while playing Minor League Baseball. The right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic began his career in 2013 with the Miami Marlins organization.
Martes had Tommy John surgery in 2018.
The Astros have their first spring training game against the Washington Nationals at 6:05 p.m. EST Saturday at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla. They begin the regular season with a game against the Los Angeles Angels at 7:08 p.m. EST March 26 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.