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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

Cardinals Shut Down Carlos Martinez for Two Weeks

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The St. Louis Cardinals have shut down right hander Carlos Martinez from throwing for two weeks as the club believes that he needs to build up his shoulder strength, according to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch.

The development hangs a cloud of uncertainty over Martinez’s availability for Opening Day.

The Cardinals may be looking to utilize Martinez out of the bullpen this season.

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Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers Re-Sign Mike Moustakas

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The Milwaukee Brewers have officially re-signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year deal, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the deal will earn Moustakas $10 million and includes a $3 million buyout along with a $11 million mutual option for 2020.

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National League

Bryce Harper ‘Unsure’ About Signing with Phillies

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Following the breaking news that Manny Machado had agreed to terms on a massive 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres, the next superstar domino expected to fall is Bryce Harper.

Multiple reports are linking Harper with the Philadelphia Phillies, who are apparently willing to pay Harper’s lofty price tag demand, but it’s not a “slam dunk” that Harper lands in Philly.

According to SNY’s Andy Martino, Harper is “unsure” about signing with the Phillies.

This echos a December report from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, one that says Harper wasn’t “particularly” fond of playing in Philadelphia.

Harper to the Phillies may not be the slam dunk that reports indicate, which means a mystery team may be luring Harper in.

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