Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners has been suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s drug policy, the league announced Tuesday.
The suspension starts immediately, even though Cano is on the disabled list because of a fractured hand he suffered Sunday and would have missed several weeks anyway.
He is eligible to return Aug. 14. In a statement, Cano said he had “decided to accept MLB’s suspension,” meaning an appeal of the positive test already was underway.
Cano is an eight-time All-Star, and a critical component in the Mariners’ bid to end baseball’s longest postseason drought. The Mariners last appeared in the playoffs in 2001, the rookie season of Ichiro Suzuki.
If the Mariners make the playoffs this season, Cano would be ineligible to play. Under the sport’s drug policy, players suspended for violating the drug policy during a season cannot participate in the playoffs following that season.
The suspension is unpaid, so he will lose about $11.5 million in salary.
The league said Cano tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic. Cano said in his statement that the diuretic is “not a Performance Enhancing Substance,” but it is banned because it can act as a masking agent, lowering the levels of banned substances that might be in the body.
According to the MLB drug policy, the league’s independent program administrator (IPA) is charged with deciding if the presence of a diuretic is benign.
“The presence of a Diuretic or Masking Agent in a Player’s urine specimen shall be treated as a positive test result if the IPA determines that the Player intended to avoid detection of his use of another Prohibited Substance,” the policy reads.
“This substance was given to me by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic to treat a medical ailment,” Cano said in his statement. “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, is batting .287 with four home runs in 39 games, and an .825 OPS.
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