SEATTLE — Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano apologized to his teammates, the organization and the fans for his 80-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug agreement.
Cano tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic that can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.
“I wanted to apologize genuinely to the city of Seattle and to all the fans and the young baseball players in the [United] States and the [Dominican Republic] and most importantly to my teammates,” Cano said. “I wanted to show my face to you guys. I don’t think for me it’s fair to just come back and walk into the clubhouse.
“I wanted to do this earlier. But I don’t want to be a distraction for the team. So I was waiting for the right time.”
Cano said he couldn’t discuss details of the testing process but maintained the substance was prescribed to him in the Dominican Republic for the treatment of a medical issue.
“I’ve been getting tested for the last 12 seasons and I’ve never had an issue with MLB policy,” he said. “I was treating for some medical ailments and I was being supervised by a doctor. But at the same time, I understand that everything that goes into my body, I’m responsible for that.”
He said the suspension was the most difficult thing he’s dealt with in his life outside of the death of his grandfather.
“I love this game so much,” Cano said. “For me, baseball is everything. You know I hate to sit in the dugout and have a day off, and being away from the game and not being able to sit in the dugout and cheer for my teammates, that makes it even harder.”
Mark Teixeira, a former first baseman for the New York Yankees and Cano’s teammate, said on a New York radio show that he was “not surprised” Cano was suspended for PED use. Yankees GM Brian Cashman made comments seemingly suggesting the same.
“Every time you hear a negative comment, it’s going to hurt anyone,” Cano said of his former colleagues. “But I don’t really pay attention because what I really care about [is] those who come out and say positive things like C.C. [Sabathia] and Mariano [Rivera]. Because if you focus on the negative then you’re always going to live in the past. I’m one who looks ahead. I don’t really care what they said. They can say whatever they want. I hope none of them or their family go through a situation like this, because it’s easy to go out and judge anyone.”
Cano has remained close to the team and does workouts at Safeco Field before the team arrives each day. He leaves the stadium before his teammates get to work and watches all the games from home. He will head to his father’s academy in the Dominican Republic in the near future to begin ramping up his baseball work.
Cano was hitting .287 with a .385 on-base percentage, .441 slugging percentage, 10 doubles, 4 home runs, 23 RBIs and 21 walks for the season when the suspension was handed down in May.
The Mariners would love to get Cano’s bat back in the lineup, but finding a spot for him in the field could be more troublesome. Dee Gordon has excelled defensively at second base in Cano’s absence after moving back to his old position from center field. With Cano ineligible for postseason play, Gordon will need to play second base in the playoffs as well, should the Mariners qualify for the first time since 2001.
Cano said he was open to whatever role the team wants him to play upon his return.
“This is not about myself. This is about us as a team,” Cano said. “We are playing for the city of Seattle. All of us, the city, my teammates and myself. I’m focused on bringing a title to Seattle, so I would do whatever it takes to help this team to win. At the same time, I understand I’m not going to be able to play in the playoffs, so you got to give a chance to Dee to go out and play, because when we get to the playoffs he’s going to have to come back and play second base.”
Cano went on the disabled list on May 14 due to a fractured bone in his right hand, and the suspension was handed down the following day. The Mariners have a 34-16 record in the 50 games Cano has missed. Barring any postponements, Cano is eligible to return to the Mariners on Aug. 14.