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Pirates’ Starling Marte Looking For Big 2018

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Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is looking to bounce back and be a major contributor to the team in the 2018 season.

Marte missed half of the 2017 campaign due to 3rd failed drug test, which was even more disappointing considering he was aiming to build off a strong 2016 that saw him make his first All-Star team.

Marte sat out from April 18 to July 17 while serving a suspension for a positive test for the steroid stanozolol.

He posted .275 with 7 homers, 31 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 77 games which was a considerable dip from his 2016 numbers where he hit .311 with 9 homers and 46 RBIs en route to earning his 2nd Gold Glove and grabbing a career-high 47 steals.

“I’m coming into this season with a brand-new mentality,” Marte said, via ESPN. “It’s a mentality to help my team like never before, to be the best teammate I can be and to be healthy to continue to be the best Marte that I am.”

“I believe he wants to go out and play the game the way he’s capable of, and that’s going to be pretty special in center field,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s going to be special on the bases. He can do things at the plate that are significant to help our club.”

Marte will be expected to fill the void left by Andrew McCutchen who is now with the San Francisco Giants.

“He has always been so respectful of Andrew that he hasn’t really let it out how much he wants to play center and how excited he is for this opportunity,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.

“But center field is his, and we’re excited for him to go own that.”

Marte is looking to have a big bounce back year.

“These pitchers, they were already all warmed up,” Marte said. “They were ready to face me. They had been playing through the whole season. I came in kind of cold, and it took me a little bit to be able to adjust.

“However, when I started getting warmed up and I came into my rhythm, that’s when Marte came out — the true Marte — and I feel warm and I’m looking forward going into this 2018 season.”

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National League

Mets Sign Ervin Santana

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The New York Mets have announced that they have come to terms with veteran right-hander Ervin Santana on a minor league contract.

The deal, which is pending a physical, will see Santana head to Port St. Lucie to being working towards his return to the majors.

Santana, 36, missed the majority of the 2018 season after undergoing surgery to repair a tendon in his right middle finger prior to the start of Spring Training, and leading the Minnesota Twins, his then-team, to decline a $14 million option on him back in November of 2018.

Prior to last season, Santana was a solid fixture in the Twins starting rotation for three seasons.

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National League

Pirates’ Corey Dickerson To Begin Rehab Assignment

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Corey Dickerson

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson is expected to begin a rehab assignment with the team’s Triple A affiliate on Friday, according to an official team announcement.

Dickerson has been out of action with a shoulder strain since April 4th, leading to the team signing veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera, who has played well during his stint with the team.

The Pirates have seen strong play from their outfielders, both defensively and at the plate, so the pending return of Dickerson will further bolster what has become a strength of the team.

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Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks Promoting Kevin Cron

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Kevin Cron

The Arizona Diamondbacks are promoting corner infield prospect Kevin Cron to the major league level, according to 98.7 Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

Cron, 26, is a former 1st round pick, and has been putting up some \monster numbers with Triple-A Reno.

Cron has hit 21 home runs so far this season, to lead all of Minor League Baseball.

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