Seattle already knew Robinson Cano would be out of the Mariners lineup for several weeks, the result of a broken bone in his right hand. But now his absence will be significantly longer.
The All-Star second baseman was suspended for 80 games on Tuesday for violating baseball's drug agreement, becoming among the most prominent players disciplined under the sport's anti-doping rules. Cano tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic that can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.
In a statement released through the players' association, Cano said, "This substance was given to me by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic to treat a medical ailment." He said he did not realize it was banned.
"Today I decided to accept MLB's suspension. This was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life, but ultimately the right decision given that I do not dispute that I was given this substance. I apologize to my family, friends, fans, teammates and the Mariners organization."
KNKX Sports Commentator Art Thiel says he's not going to accept Cano's excuses.
"I think you can infer that Robinson Cano is a cheater," Thiel said. "Because if he didn’t do this, he would’ve fought it."
Thiel wonders how the suspension will affect Cano’s relationship with teammates, the front office and fans.
"I know that most fans most of the time don’t care about drug testing, they just want to see their team win. To that extent there will be forgiveness, but there will be some of us who will be looking at and saying, Robinson Cano, you were a star but now you’re a guy," he said.
Cano’s suspension ends in August, though if the M’s make the postseason, he’ll have to sit out those games too. He has four years remaining on his contract.
Cano's suspension was a shock to his team. General manager Jerry Dipoto was informed Monday after Cano made the decision to drop his appeal. Seattle manager Scott Servais found out Tuesday morning.