M’s Cano sus­pended for 80 games

Off­sea­son test dis­cov­ered his use of banned di­uretic

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS - BY TIM BOOTH

SEAT­TLE — 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. 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.

Ma­jor League Base­ball’s an­nounce­ment was a stun­ning de­vel­op­ment for a mid­dle-of-the­lineup stal­wart and a club ex­pected to con­tend for a post­sea­son spot. 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.

“For more than fif­teen years, play­ing pro­fes­sional base­ball has been the great­est honor and priv­i­lege of my life,” Cano said. “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,” Cano said in the state­ment is­sued by the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion.

“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.”

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.

“We love Robinson Cano. We re­ally do and what he means to our ball­club and the or­ga­ni­za­tion. But just like a fam­ily mem­ber makes a bad de­ci­sion or a bad choice, you still love them,” Ser­vais said. “Robinson will be back and will be a big part of our team go­ing for­ward but in the short term he’s not go­ing to be here.”

Cano is the big­gest base­ball star busted since Melky Cabr­era was sus­pended in 2012 while lead­ing the Na­tional League in hit­ting. There have been 36 play­ers sus­pended this year un­der the mi­nor league drug pro­gram and six in ad­di­tion to Cano un­der the big league pro­gram: Hous­ton pitcher Dean Deetz, Wash­ing­ton catcher Raudy Read, Pitts­burgh pitcher Nik Tur­ley, Kansas City out­fielder Jorge Boni­fa­cio, Toronto pitcher Thomas Pan­none and Min­nesota short­stop Jorge Polanco.

If no games are post­poned, Cano would be el­i­gi­ble to re­turn Aug. 14 at Oak­land. In the short-term, Seat­tle will use Gor­don Beck­ham and An­drew Romine to fill the void at se­cond base, but Ser­vais and Dipoto spoke with out­fielder (and for­mer Al­bu­querque Iso­tope) Dee Gor­don about a pos­si­ble move back to se­cond base. Gor­don was a Gold Glove win­ner at the po­si­tion in Mi­ami, but made the switch to cen­ter field af­ter be­ing traded to Seat­tle.

Gor­don was sus­pended 80 games dur­ing the 2016 sea­son.

“For my­self, it was tough. Per­son­ally, I didn’t have the statistical value Robinson Cano had at that point in my ca­reer when I went through it,” Gor­don said. “I felt like I had to prove to ev­ery­one that I could play when I came back. I thank God he has some stats and ev­ery­one knows how good he is.”

Furosemide, sold un­der the name Lasix, can be pur­chased with­out a pre­scrip­tion and is used to treat high blood pres­sure and fluid buildup. It is on the World An­tiDop­ing Agency’s list of banned sub­stances.

Cano’s pos­i­tive re­sulted from an off­sea­son test, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the process said.

Be­cause the sub­stance in­volved was a di­uretic, the drug agree­ment called for Cano to be retested. The next step was for Thomas Martin, the in­de­pen­dent pro­gram ad­min­is­tra­tor hired by the MLB and the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion, to de­ter­mine whether the use of Furosemide was an at­tempt “to sub­sti­tute, di­lute, mask or adul­ter­ate a spec­i­men or in any other man­ner al­ter a test,” ac­cord­ing to the joint drug pro­gram.

AP FILE

Robinson Cano, an eight-time All-Star, is one of seven ma­jor league play­ers to be sus­pended this sea­son for fail­ing a drug test.

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