BOSTON/NEW YORK (CBS) — When the Seattle Mariners signed Robinson Cano to an astounding 10-year, $240 million contract prior to the 2014 season, this is not what they envisioned taking place down the road.
On Tuesday, Cano was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned substance. Specifically, Cano tested positive for furosemide, which is used to mask banned substances in tests.
The 35-year-old second baseman admitted to taking furosemide, but claimed that it was given to him by a doctor in the Dominican Republic to “treat a medical ailment.”
“For more than 15 years, playing professional baseball has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life,” Cano said in a statement. “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 [a PED]. 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. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received during this process, and I look forward to rejoining my teammates later this season.”
The Mariners said they support the league’s implementation of the drug policy.
“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,” the Mariners said in a team statement. “We will support Robinson as he works through this challenge.”
Cano was set to miss time anyway after he suffered a broken hand on Sunday. He’ll nevertheless be issued an 80-game suspension and will not be eligible to play in the postseason if the Mariners qualify.
In his four-plus seasons with the Mariners, Cano owns a .294 batting average and an .824 OPS, and he averaged 24 homers and 90 RBIs per season from 2014-17. Prior to his time with the Mariners, Cano spent nine seasons with the New York Yankees, hitting .309 with 204 homers and 822 RBIs and finishing Top 5 in the MVP voting in three different seasons.
This season, Cano is batting .287 with an .825 OPS, ranking fourth and third, respectively, among AL second basemen.