By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner
ST. LOUIS — There was no finger-pointing in the Pirates’ clubhouse on Tuesday after the news broke that Starling Marte was suspended 80 games for using steroids. The harshest (if you can call it that) comment came from Andrew McCutchen, who noted: “When you make a mistake, you’ve got to pay for it.” Almost immediately, McCutchen tried to walk it back by adding: “All you can do is try to be his support. He has our support. He has my support.”
Gerrit Cole: “We love the guy. He’s our teammate. People make mistakes. We don’t know everything that’s gone into it. I haven’t walked in his shoes before. We’ll try to reserve judgement, because he’s our brother.”
Gregory Polanco: “It’s something that I didn’t imagine. It’s something that’s heartbreaking. You see your brother going through this and see his face. That’s not easy for me.”
Josh Harrison: “It’s something he’s got to deal with on his own. But if he ever wants to reach out, he knows he’s not exiled. People make mistakes. Anytime you hear about something like this, whether it’s a teammate or not, it’s always a shock. Our job is not to be consumed with it. Our job is to go out and play. It’s tougher on him than it is on us. That’s what we’ve got to realize.”
Within minutes of MLB announcing Marte’s suspension, team president Frank Coonelly sent out an email saying the Pirates “look forward to getting Starling back after the All-Star break.” So, hey, all is forgiven on Day 1 of the suspension.
Am I missing something here? Marte was the club’s No. 2 hitter, its best defensive player, its center fielder and de facto team captain. He got busted for using an old-school anabolic steroid — putting the entire season in jeopardy — and nobody on the team is publicly miffed? Interesting.
How will the #Pirates weather Starling Marte's 80-game PED suspension?
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) April 18, 2017
There’s this image perpetuated by players and management that the fellas in the clubhouse are a band of brothers, like Easy Company getting each other’s backs and they pick off the Nazis in war-torn Europe. That’s not quite the case. Yes, the players spend practically every day together from mid-February to October (or November, if things are going well). But, in the big picture, they’re all mercenaries — each with his own agent (and in some cases PR handler), each trying to get the biggest and best contract possible. Some guys cheat to do that. Those that don’t can’t be blamed for feeling some resentment, even if they don’t discuss is publicly.
Big League Stew on Yahoo! Sports got this comment from the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo:
— Big League Stew (@bigleaguestew) April 18, 2017
>>>UPDATE 11:19 AM CT — Jordy Mercer was walking with a noticeable limp this morning after fouling a ball off his left foot during last night’s game. He’s in the lineup today, but could be a candidate for an early exit if the game gets out of hand one way or another.
>>> Minor matters: Joey Terdoslavich, who filled Jose Osuna‘s roster spot with Triple-A Indianapolis, went 2 for 5, including a double, last night vs. Durham. He became the third Indy player this season to collect three RBI in a game (also Austin Meadows on April 14 and Max Moroff on April 7).
>>> You want links? Here’s one for ya:
Cardinals 2, Pirates 1: McCutchen looked like a kid again in CF, but the offense seemed stiff and cranky
>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Cardinals, 1:45 p.m., Busch Stadium, St. Louis. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Pirates: Josh Harrison 4, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Gerrit Cole (1-1, 5.29)
Cardinals: Dexter Fowler 8, Greg Garcia 6, Matt Carpenter 3, Stephen Piscotty 9, Jose Martinez 7, Yadier Molina 2, Jedd Gyorko 5, Kolten Wong 4, RHP Michael Wacha (1-1, 3.00)
>>> Thursday: Off
>>> Friday: Yankees at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (2-0, 1.47) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 12.15)
>>> Saturday: Yankees at Pirates, 4:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.44) Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 0.90)
>>> Sunday: Yankees at Pirates, 1:35 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Yankees: LHP Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 4.22) Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (1-2, 2.25)
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.