Mariners 2B Robinson Cano suspended 80 games for drug program violation

Seattle Mariners v Detroit Tigers - Game Two

Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a banned substance.

Cano tested positive for a diuretic, Furosemide, which is on the league's banned substances list.

The story was first reported by Hector Gomez of Z 101 Digital.

Cano can serve the suspension while on the disabled list, where he was placed earlier this week after breaking a bone in his hand in Detroit on Sunday. He will be eligible to return August 14 against Oakland if all 80 games are played as scheduled, but he will forfeit over $11 million in salary.

The suspension makes him ineligible for postseason play this season.

“We were disappointed to learn today that Robinson had violated the terms Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," the Mariners said in a statement. "Our organization fully supports the Program. 

"Robinson made a mistake. 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 this challenge.”

Cano said the substance was prescribed to him by a doctor in the Dominican Republic for a medical issue.

"While I did not realize at the time that I was given a medication that was banned, I obviously now wish that I had been more careful," Cano said in a statement released by the MLB Players' Association.

"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. 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 the 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."

Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto said the front office first heard about this possibility on Monday night with Manager Scott Servais saying he didn't find out until Tuesday morning. The league's drug violation process keeps matters confidential until appeals have been exhausted. Cano reportedly decided to drop his appeal in recent days.

"Obviously it's disappointing," Servais said. "Everybody knows what Robinson Cano means to our ball club and what a big part he is in our lineup and certainly our clubhouse every day, but the focus going forward is we got off to a good start this season, we've certainly got plenty of talent in that clubhouse and on the ball club that can keep it rolling here. That's the goal. Guys just do what they're capable of doing. Don't want guys to try to press or 'oh we've got to pick up for Robbie.' No. We've got plenty of talent in there. We're be fine."

Dipoto said the team will explore outside options to add to the roster to help cover Cano's absence. In the meantime, the Mariners spoke with Dee Gordon about the possibility of moving him to second base to take Cano's spot for the long term. Gordon won a Gold Glove as a second baseman with Miami in 2015.

"We’re not going to rush it. He’s going to play center field. He is playing center field tonight and he’s going to break out his infield glove and start taking some ground balls this afternoon," Dipoto said. "We haven’t made that decision definitively but Scott, Dee and I just spoke about it and said he would do whatever the team needs and we’re going to see how that goes for the next couple of days."

The Mariners converted Gordon to the outfield this spring after acquiring him in a trade with the Marlins over the offseason.

Gordon said there is a part of him that wishes to remain in center field given all the work he's put in to make the position change this season. However, he said he's willing to do anything he can to help the team win.

"I’ve played this position," Gordon said, "but considering the circumstances, it’s definitely not how you want it to happen, especially to a great guy like Robbie. I’m just going to try to help us for this season and see what we can do to try to get to the postseason."

Cano was already going to miss some time due to the broken bone in his hand. Dipoto said Tuesday they believed that injury was going to keep Cano out for 2-4 weeks. While not firmly set in stone, the expectation was that Cano would have surgery on Wednesday to repair the break. The suspension should more than cover the amount of time his recovery would take.

Photo Credit: DETROIT, MI - MAY 12: Robinson Cano #22 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his three-run home run against the Detroit Tigers with Andrew Romine #7 of the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning of game two of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on May 12, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

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