Noelvi Marte set to begin rehab assignment post-PED suspension, but can he help the Reds?

Noelvi Marte is (almost) back from his 80-game suspension.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte
Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

There are bound to be a number of stories that Cincinnati Reds fans will be exposed to in the coming weeks as Noelvi Marte is readying to return to the big leagues following an 80-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs.

It was a shock to the system for a number of Reds fans and players when it was announced earlier this spring that Marte had tested positive for Boldenone. Marte was expected to be the Reds everyday third baseman in 2024 and even make a run at the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

Barring any game cancellations over the next few weeks, Marte's suspension will be up on June 27th, but the infielder is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday June 11th. The question now becomes, how will Marte fit into the Reds' 2024 plans and can he make an impact?

Noelvi Marte set to begin rehab assignment post-PED suspension

The answer to whether or not Marte can make an impact is a resounding, yes! Marte ended last season hitting .316 and was riding a 16-game hitting streak. The former Seattle Mariners' farmhand — whom the Reds received as part of a trade package for Luis Castillo in 2022 — will be in the Louisville Bats' lineup for at least the next two weeks.

Marte had been gathering some reps at the team's training complex in Arizona as part of extended spring training, but his likely start for the Bats' on Tuesday night will be the 22-year-old's first professional game this season.

Marte has minor-league options remaining, so while most Reds fans just assume that the infielder will back in the starting lineup for that June 27th game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, it's not that simple. Rehab assignments can last up 20 days, so it's possible that Marte won't return to the Reds' lineup until close to the beginning of July or even later.

What will Noelvi Marte's role be with the 2024 Reds?

When Marte is finally back with the big league club, manager David Bell has previously stated that it'll be as if this whole suspension never happened. Expect his teammates to welcome Marte back with open arms. Since Marte's suspension, Jeimer Candelario and Santiago Espinal have been sharing defensive duties at third base. That will likely change when Marte is activated.

Marte was supposed to be a key piece of this year's Reds team, and that hasn't changed. Though there were some ups and downs, the Reds have stayed in contention despite Marte's absence and Matt McLain on the IL since Opening Day with a shoulder injury.

Cincinnati will soon see one of the best young players back on the field, and the fanbase should expect him to have a big — but perhaps not immediate — impact upon his return.

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