Speaking with reporters (including Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times) on Saturday, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano was apologetic about the 80-game suspension he has been serving since mid-May. Cano tested positive for Furosemide, which is a diuretic that masks the effects of PEDs, though he suggested that he didn’t knowingly take a banned substance. “The city of Seattle has become my second home for my family and I. I’m grateful to the organization, my teammates and the fans and as you guys know, I’ve been getting tested for the last 12 seasons and I’ve never had an issue with MLB policy,” Cano said. “I was being treated for some medical ailments and I was being supervised by a doctor. But at the same time, I understand that everything that goes into my body, I’m responsible for that.”
Because the Mariners (56-34) have been on a roll without Cano, who’s eligible to return Aug. 14 but ineligible for postseason play, it’s unclear whether he’ll man second base again when he comes back. Dee Gordon has moved from center field to second in Cano’s absence, and it’s possible the Mariners will keep Gordon at the keystone through season’s end. Asked if he’d be on board with shifting positions upon his return, Cano noted, “I haven’t talked to (general manager) Jerry (Dipoto) yet, but I would do anything for the team.” Should Gordon remain at second, the 35-year-old Cano could head to first, where Ryon Healy has only offered league-average offense this season.
Here’s more on Seattle and two other playoff hopefuls from the AL West:
- Thanks in part to the presences of Gordon and Healy, not to mention Cano’s age, he may have to move to designated hitter as early as next year, Bob Condotta of KLAY 1180 AM writes. The Mariners have Nelson Cruz at DH now, but he’ll be a free agent after the season. While Cruz is having yet another outstanding campaign at the plate, he’s unlikely to land an overly long or expensive contract considering his age (38) and inability to contribute on defense, Condotta posits. As such, whether the Mariners re-sign Cruz may hinge more on roster flexibility than whether they’re interested in meeting his asking price. Bringing Cruz back would affect not only the DH situation in Seattle, but also the team’s infield and outfield pictures, as Condotta explains in his piece.
- The Athletics announced that they’ve reinstated left-hander Brett Anderson from the 10-day disabled list and placed righty Paul Blackburn on the 10-day DL (retroactive to Saturday) with right elbow lateral epicondylitis. Anderson missed nearly two months with a left shoulder strain, adding to a long list of injuries in the 30-year-old’s career. He struggled in 15 1/3 innings before hitting the shelf, yielding 13 earned runs on 25 hits. Blackburn has endured a similarly poor season in the run prevention department (7.16 ERA in 27 2/3 frames), though ERA estimators FIP (3.56), xFIP (4.33) and SIERA (4.37) suggest he has deserved far better. It’s unclear how much time Blackburn could miss, but the location of his injury is alarming – especially considering he sat out all of April and May with a right forearm strain. Swapping Anderson for Blackburn will continue to leave the A’s with more than a full rotation’s worth of starters on the DL (depth chart).
- The three weeks leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline will serve as a left field audition for Astros prospect Kyle Tucker, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says. If the just-promoted Tucker doesn’t look ready to contribute on a regular basis, the Astros will “likely” look to acquire a veteran stopgap, according to Rosenthal, who points out that left field has not been an area of strength for their offense this season. Tucker, 21, made his Astros debut Saturday and went 1 for 4 with three strikeouts and a walk.