What did Noelvi Marte get suspended for and who else has been caught using it?

The steroid that Noelvi Marte tested positive for is a familiar one amongst baseball's cheaters.

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

Cincinnati Reds fans were shocked by the news that Noelvi Marte received an 80 game suspension on Friday for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Given that Marte was widely expected to make the Reds' Opening Day roster and be a major contributor in the lineup, to call the news a disaster may be selling it short.

The subject of PEDs has become more and more convoluted over time as the different banned substances list has grown as testing and sports authorities have improved their understanding of the ways in which athletes try to get an unfair edge. The substance that Marte got popped for, boldenone, has a lengthy history of use in baseball and, subsequently, has been the reason for some lengthy suspensions.

What is boldenone and which other players have been caught using it other than Noelvi Marte?

While some substances that are banned under MLB's performance-enhancing drugs policy are ones that are used to mask PED use, there is no ambiguity with boldenone as it is an anabolic steroid that was derived from testosterone. Funnily enough, boldenone was developed as a veterinary medication for horses and isn't approved for use in humans at all. However, that hasn't stopped it from becoming one of the PEDs of choice for those that choose to break the rules to get ahead.

One of the most notable cases of a player using boldenone was Mets reliever Jennry Mejia who tested positive for the drug TWICE and ended up getting a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball as a three-time PED offender in 2016, although he did end up getting reinstated in 2018 and is playing in the Mexican League these days.

Another prominent example is Emmanuel Clase who got his own 80-game suspension for using boldenone in 2020. Other suspensions for using this particular steroid include Abraham Almonte, David Paulino, Jorge Bonifacio, and Francis Martes who all got 80 games or more for testing positive for it.

The reason for players using boldenone to cheat is simple: it is really good at promoting muscle growth because, again, it was designed for use on horses. Baseball isn't alone in having to deal with players taking the steroid as NFL, UFC, and various Olympic athletes have all tested positive for it. It is also a popular drug in bodybuilding, although that particular "sport" seems to encourage steroid use rather than regulate it.

In short, it appears as though Marte may have taken the dumbest of shortcuts in order to get ahead in baseball. The drug he tested positive for isn't a medication for humans, is very blatantly a PED that is easily detected, and MLB has a strong track record of catching players taking it. One can only hope that this was a momentary lapse in judgment and not indicative of a long-term character problem.

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