Los Angeles (AFP) – Seattle Mariners star Robinson Cano has been banned for 80 games after failing a drugs test, Major League Baseball said Tuesday.
Second baseman Cano, one of baseball’s highest paid players and a likely future Hall of Famer, tested positive for the banned diuretic Furosemide, the league said.
The 35-year-old Dominican slugger, who is halfway through a 10-year $240 million contract with Seattle, has accepted the punishment, the Mariners said in a statement.
“We were disappointed to learn today that Robinson had violated the terms of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the Mariners said. “Our organization fully supports the program.
“Robinson made a mistake. He has explained to us what happened, accepted the punishment and has apologized to the fans, the organization and his teammates. We will support Robinson as he works through this challenge.”
Diuretics can be used as a masking agent to hide the presence of performance-enhancing drugs or to assist rapid weight loss.
Cano said in a statement released via the Major League Players Association he had been given the drug during a visit to a doctor in the Dominican Republic for an undisclosed 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 said in the statement.
“For more than fifteen years, playing professional baseball has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life.
“I would never do anything to cheat the rules of the game that I love.”
Cano is an eight-time MLB All-Star with 305 career home runs and more than 2,400 hits.
He is the most high-profile baseball player to be implicated in a drug scandal since Alex Rodriguez was hit with a 162-game ban in 2013.