Mets infielder Robinson Cano gets ready to bat during a...

Mets infielder Robinson Cano gets ready to bat during a simulated game at spring training on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Robinson Cano offered an apology but refused to say why he took steroids and wouldn’t even commit to not failing a third performance-enhancing drug test during a news conference Wednesday, his first extensive public comments since he was suspended a year and a half ago.

"There's no excuses," he said repeatedly. "I'm here to apologize face to face [to] the organization, the teammates, the fans and the media and everyone in the world who is Robinson Cano's fan."

That sentiment was similar to the one he privately expressed to Mets players earlier in the week, but in front of cameras and microphones Cano never strayed far from what seemed like his script. He avoided directly answering most of the questions regarding his positive test for Stanozolol, a steroid, and his ensuing suspension for the entire 2021 season.

Cano has been suspended twice for failed PED tests. In 2018, months before the Mets acquired him in a blockbuster trade, he was found to have furosemide — a diuretic sometimes used to hide the presence of other drugs — in his body.

What was his thought process in the moment when taking the drug, having already been punished once?

"The toughest part was not being here last year," Cano said, completely changing the subject. "Honestly. Not being a part of this team, knowing that I can help them in any way to make it to the playoffs. And for me, cheering from a TV or home, that was for me the toughest part."

Could he guarantee he wouldn’t fail a third test (the punishment for which is a lifetime ban from MLB)?

 

"That’s why I'm here as a man to give an apology," Cano said. "It was tough for me this past year, being at home, things going through your head, you keep it to yourself. It wasn’t good. For me, I love this game, I grew up in a family that played this game. To not be able to play the game, it was pretty tough."

Did he learn nothing from watching Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez tarnish his reputation and taint his historic statistics with similar PED controversies?

"I think the best lesson you can have is from yourself, when you make a mistake yourself," Cano said.

Cano, 39, is due $48 million through the end of the 2023 season. The Mets have to pay him whether he is on the roster or not, so they’re giving him a chance. (Were he to be suspended again, the Mets would not have to pay him.)

Cano is poised to receive significant playing time at DH and second base, and Buck Showalter often during these first days of spring training has talked up Cano’s ability and potential impact.

The Mets as a team have moved on, the manager said, despite having a star who twice has been caught cheating.

"It may look selfish from the standpoint of, what are we supposed to do? Not play him? Beat up on him every day? What's the return there? He's wearing our colors," Showalter said. "Have I sat down and said, 'Why did you do it? What drove you?' I have some curiosity, but now's not the time."

Showalter said on Monday: "It’s kind of like it’s your wife. You make a mistake, don’t talk about all the reasons. Just say, ‘I’m sorry.’ People will forgive or not forgive at their own pace."

Cano said he worked out five times per week during his banishment. In highly produced photos and videos posted to his social media accounts, he branded the time away as his "#ResetSeason."

"I prepared myself knowing that now we got a great team and being a part of this team," he said. "I'm going to do everything that I can so I can have [fans] cheer for me again."