WASHINGTON — Say it ain’t so, Robinson Cano.
Cano, the former Yankee and eight-time All-Star, was suspended Tuesday for 80 games after testing positive for Furosemide, a diuretic, the commissioner’s office announced.
The stunning revelation came only two days after Cano suffered a fractured hand, the result of being hit by a pitch, and was expected to miss significant time after 11 straight seasons of playing 150 games or more. Because Cano dropped his appeal, the 80-game ban will begin immediately, even as he claimed to be an unwitting offender.
Cano would be eligible to return Aug. 14, but he is ineligible for the postseason.
Cano’s few remaining teammates on the Yankees expressed sadness for a player they still described as a friend, but also refused to be totally shocked by it — a sentiment around the league whenever someone gets nailed with a PED-related ban.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman provided a somewhat cryptic answer when asked if he was ever aware of any PED usage by his star second baseman during his nine-year tenure in the Bronx.
“Knowledge is one thing, suspicion is another,” Cashman said. The GM went on to say that he “didn’t feel comfortable” talking about the Cano situation because he’s a member of the Mariners. “We enjoyed our time with Robbie when he was with us,” Cashman added.
Cashman repeatedly emphasized that he would have faced a $1-million fine and risked his own career if he withheld information about the use of banned drugs from the commissioner’s office. Furosemide is considered by MLB to be a masking agent.
“Recently I learned that I tested positive for a substance called Furosemide, which is not a performance-enhancing substance,” Cano said Tuesday 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 now wish that I had been more careful.”
Cano, 35, was on a Cooperstown trajectory with 2,417 hits and 305 homers, which ranks second all-time for second baseman behind Jeff Kent (377). This season, Cano was hitting .287 with four homers, 23 RBIs and an .825 OPS through 39 games.
Now it appears Cano’s hopes for the Hall of Fame were dealt much greater damage, as no player elected to Cooperstown has ever had a PED-related ban. Cano bolted the Yankees after the 2013 season to sign a 10-year, $240-million contract with the Mariners, and the suspension means he will lose $12 million this season.
The Yankees still have four players that were pinstriped teammates of Cano’s, so the news was unsettling to them.
“It’s surprising because I know Robby, but after the Ryan Braun thing, nothing surprises me,” said CC Sabathia, who mentioned how he also played with Braun, a PED offender, in Milwaukee and “never suspected anything.”
Brett Gardner described Cano as “one of my favorite teammates of all-time” and was saddened by the revelation. Dellin Betances, who said Cano is a “close friend,” also was taken aback by it.
“I really couldn’t believe it,” Betances said. “Still can’t believe it, to be honest with you.”
With Erik Boland
Longest suspensions for violations of MLB’s drug policy:
Lifetime Jennry Mejia (2016)
162 Jenrry Mejia (2015)
105 Miguel Tejada
100 Manny Ramirez
80 Neifi Perez
Jenrry Mejia (2015)