Robbie Cano, say it ain’t so.
Robinson Cano, the Mariners second baseman and former Yankees star, has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for violating its joint drug agreement, the league announced Tuesday.
The ban, which is without pay and is effective immediately, is for Cano’s use of Furosemide, a diuretic that is in violation of baseball’s policy.
Hector Gomez, a journalist in the Dominican Republic, first reported news of the discipline.
Cano, 35, said he was unaware the drug was banned by MLB when he was prescribed it in his native Dominican Republic.
“Recently I learned that I tested positive for a substance called Furosemide, which is not a Performance Enhancing Substance,” Cano said in a statement. “Furosemide is used to treat various medical conditions in the United States and the Dominican Republic. This substance was given to me by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic to treat a medical ailment. While I did not realize at the time that I was given a medication that was banned, I obviously wish now that I had been more careful.
“For more than fifteen years, playing professional baseball has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life. I would never do anything to cheat the rules of the game that I love, and after undergoing dozens of drug tests over more than a decade, I have never tested positive for a Performance Enhancing Substance for the simple reason that I have never taken one.”
“Today I decided to accept MLB’s suspension,” Cano added. “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. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received during this process, and I look forward to rejoining my teammates later this season.
Cano is an eight-time All-Star and was hitting .287 with four home runs and 23 RBI before he was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday.
The left-handed slugger had broken the fifth-metacarpal in his right hand after he was hit by a pitch from Tigers southpaw Blaine Hardy. Cano was expected to be out four-to-six weeks.
Cano would also be ineligible for the postseason roster should the Mariners, who are 23-17 and 1.5 games out of first place in the AL West, make it that far.
The team said it was “disappointed” to learn of Cano’s suspension but added it will support him through it.
“Robinson made a mistake,” the Mariners said in a statement. “He has explained to us what happened, accepted the punishment and has apologized to the fans, the organization and his teammates. We will support Robinson as he works through the challenge.”
Cano has put together an impressive career, batting .304 with 305 home runs over 14 seasons in the majors.
He spent the first nine seasons in pinstripes, winning a World Series with the Yankees in 2009 before landing a mega-deal in free agency with the Mariners for 10 years, $240 million.
He still has six years — including 2018 — remaining on his contract, which owes him $144 million. The suspension, however, will dock him nearly $12 million.