Robinson Cano, one of baseball’s biggest stars and second baseman for the Seattle Mariners, was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
The suspension, described by Bob Nightengale of USA Today “as one of the most stunning of the decade,” will leave a shadow on Cano’s career and may end his hopes of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Cano, who is in the fifth year of a 10-year, $240 million contract - the most lucrative in MLB history when he signed - tested positive for a diuretic Furosemide, often used to mask banned substances.
According to USA Today, Cano’s representatives insist he took the drug for a medical condition and not to cover for taking a steroid.
“Recently I learned that I tested positive for a substance called Furosemide, which is not a Performance Enhancing Substance,’’ Cano said in a release from the Major League Baseball Players Union. "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 broke his hand Sunday after being hit by a pitch during a game against Detroit.
The second baseman made his name with the Yankees, and signed as a free agent with the Mariners. He’s an eight-time All-Star with 305 career home runs, the most in history by an American League second baseman. At age 35, he’s considered to reach 3,000 career hits in a couple years (he’s currently at 2,417).
The last suspension of this magnitude came in the fallout of the 2013 Biogenesis scandal, and led to the suspensions of Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.