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D-backs’ Starling Marte contemplated retirement after his wife died

Outfielder Starling Marte #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up during an intrasquad game ahead of the abbreviated MLB season at Chase Field on July 06, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The 2020 season, which has been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to start later this month. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Starling Marte arrived at the team’s summer camp Friday after speculation of where he had been.

On a Zoom call with reporters Saturday, Marte said he felt ready to start the season and his first day of camp was delayed waiting for his coronavirus test results from Major League Baseball.

“I feel very prepared for the season and I’m ready to go,” Marte said via translator.

Marte hasn’t always been ready. He said that after the loss of his wife, Noelia, earlier this year, he had contemplated leaving the game.

In May, Marte’s wife died of a heart attack. Marte said she had broken her ankle and suffered a heart attack while awaiting surgery.

His first thought after her passing was that he wanted to retire and didn’t want to play baseball anymore.

The more conversations he had with pastors and friends, the more he felt supported to return to the game.

“I’m very happy to be back, especially with my kids, and obviously it’s been a very tough time for us, but through God and being able to speak with a couple of pastors and priests at our church, they’ve been able to help me through this process,” Starling said.

Starling also mentioned that teammate Ketel Marte has been like a brother to him throughout the process.

“For me personally, and the rest of the team, we really try to strike up as many conversations as we can with Marte and we really try to connect that chemistry,” Ketel told reporters via translator on Friday.

“Unfortunately, with the tragedy that happened a couple months ago, with him, when he gets alone when he’s alone at his house, we know that those bad thoughts come in. So we just want to be around him, we want help him, we want to be good teammates and be supportive and help him have a really good year.”

D-backs’ managing general partner Ken Kendrick helped Startling Marte and Ketel Marte both return to Arizona from the Dominican Republican last week using his personal plane. That way, the players’ families were able to come along, given the circumstances.

Starling said with the passing of his wife, his oldest daughter has taken the loss of her mother the hardest, but throughout the process they’ve all come out strong. With the start of the season rising, he’s eager to return to the game with his children by his side.


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