New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug stanozolol and will be suspended for the entire 2021 season, according to a statement Wednesday by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
“We were extremely disappointed to be informed about Robinson’s suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “The violation is very unfortunate for him, the organization, our fans, and the sport. The Mets fully support MLB’s efforts toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the game.”
There was no immediate comment from Cano or the players’ union.
A second positive test results in an automatic 162-game suspension, according to the joint drug agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. Cano will forfeit his $24 million salary.
Cano was traded to the Mets in a now-fateful December 2018 deal that sent top prospect Jarred Kelenic to the Mariners. After struggling in his first season with the team, he rebounded to hit .316/.352/.544 this season and was expected to play a significant role as the Mets play their first season under new owner Steve Cohen and new front-office management.
Cano, who previously signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners, has two years and $48 million remaining on his contract. The Mariners will pay down $7.5 million of that.
In 16 seasons, he is a career .303 hitter with 334 homers, 1,302 RBIs and two Gold Gloves. Cano became a star with the New York Yankees before signing with the Mariners. His ban during the 2018 season made him among the most prominent players penalized under baseball’s anti-doping rules.
At that time, Cano said the diuretic “was given to me by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic to treat a medical ailment.” Cano said he didn’t realize the drug was banned by MLB.
Cano has 2,624 career hits and Hall of Fame-caliber statistics for a second baseman. But with his baseball future uncertain at age 38, his latest suspension certainly puts his pursuit of 3,000 hits — and his chances for Cooperstown — in serious jeopardy.
Minus Cano, the Mets could give offensive spark plug Jeff McNeil a regular spot at second base — probably his most natural position.
McNeil, 28, has hit .319 with an .884 OPS in three seasons with the Mets and was an All-Star in 2019. He came up as a second baseman in 2018 and has made more major league starts there than at any other single position, though he’s also done fine in the outfield while shuffling among left field, right field and third base.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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