SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano has been suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s joint drug agreement.
The league announced Cano’s suspension Tuesday in a stunning development for the stalwart in the middle of the Mariners’ lineup and a club expected to contend for a postseason spot in the American League. Cano tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic. In a statement released through the players’ association, Cano says, “This substance was given to me by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic to treat a medical ailment.” He said he didn’t realize it was banned.
It’s the first major strike in a career that has Hall of Fame potential. Cano was trending toward being one of the few current players with a chance to reach 3,000 hits in his career and has been a consummate defensive standout. Cano is an eight-time All-Star but now must deal with the stigma of a suspension.
Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.
This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:
“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline. Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires. We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”
That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.