Anthony Rizzo calls for more testing after Starling Marte’s suspension
Anthony Rizzo loves joking with Starling Marte when the Pirates star reaches first base.
"(But) then when something like this comes around," he said. "It’s unfortunate."
Rizzo was referring to Marte’s 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs and believes rules should be more stringent.
"We should be drug testing a lot more," added Rizzo, who said he hasn’t been tested since spring training. "But that’s the way it is."
Rizzo believes that more tests will reduce the temptation for players to cheat.
"Is it a big risk if you’re suspended 80 games and have a guaranteed contract?" Rizzo said. "Take that risk to get the reward? That’s the question to ask. (With) some guys, it is a big risk. For others, if you get away with it, you get the big deal. But it’s part of the game, and we need drug testing a lot more."
Manager Joe Maddon wasn’t upset Marte’s suspension came three days after he hit a home run to help beat the Cubs, adding that he pushed for a level playing field through drug testing when he took over as manager of the Rays in 2006.
"In some ways it’s unfortunate for Pittsburgh," Maddon said. "My goodness, that’s really devastating to the entire group, not just the individual himself. It’s a tough moment to be in. So I don’t look backward. Looking forward, it appears the system is working."
Eyes on Almora: Maddon reiterated his support for Albert Almora Jr. even though Almora, who is batting .389, didn’t start Tuesday amid pleas from fans for him to become the permanent center fielder.
"Eventually he’s going to be a starting center fielder," Maddon said. "I don’t know when that’s going to happen. But he will, as long as he keeps doing what he’s doing right now, he’s going to become a regular, every-day center fielder.
"He needs opportunity."
Jimenez still unassigned: Outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the Cubs’ top prospect, doubled at extended spring training Monday. But it hasn’t been determined when Jimenez, who is recovering from a bone bruise in his right shoulder, will report to minor-league affiliate, general manager Jed Hoyer said.