Pirates' Marte to play in minors as drug ban nears end

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday as he nears the end of his drug suspension.

Marte will begin his rehab stint with Class A Bradenton. The 28-year-old is serving an 80-game ban after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. He is eligible to return to the majors July 18.

Marte's last game with the Pirates was April 17. He is hitting .241 with two homers and two stolen bases.

After winning two Gold Glove Awards in left field, Marte supplanted star Andrew McCutchen in center field to begin this season. McCutchen has returned to center in Marte's absence, and manager Clint Hurdle said that Marte may play either left or center when he returns.

Bradenton is scheduled to host the Florida Fire Frogs at 1 p.m. Sunday.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.