News of Robinson Cano's 80-game suspension left Mariners fans disappointed with the second baseman heading into Tuesday night's home game against the Texas Rangers. Most fans agreed that Cano's actions should not overshadow the rest of the season.
"I'm just really disappointed, really sad, especially for younger kids. It seemed for a while that the game was getting cleaned up," said Paul Cantu, outside Safeco Field.
MLB announced Tuesday that Cano tested positive in the off-season for Furosemide, a diuretic.
Several fans outside the field game acknowledged Cano's performance is worthy of the Hall of Fame, but believe the suspension ruins any chances of getting in.
"It's a big hole to fill, the number three hitter, one of the best hitters on the team. But the team looks good this year," said Cantu.
Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto spoke about losing one of the team's top players a couple of hours before the game.
"We're all disappointed, we just lost one of our best players. It's important to know its hurtful to our fans," said Dipoto.
"I think the way we've played so far this year, the way you've seen it come together. We've been down in games 3-nothing, 5-nothing, we come back. I think they'll come back from this. It'll sting when they sit down together. But I'm sure now the way social media goes they're all aware of what's happened before they walk in that door. Now it's just a matter of picking it up and moving it forward," he said.
Diuretics are banned by most major sports organizations and can be abused by athletes to mask the presence of other banned substances, or to excrete water for weight loss.
Cano and his representatives, however, insist that he took Furosemide as prescribed by a doctor in the Dominican Republic for a medical condition; they insist it was not a performance-enhancing drug.
"Furosemide is used to treat various medical conditions in the United States and the Dominican Republic. 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 said in the statement.
"Today I decided to accept MLB’s suspension. This was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life, but ultimately the right decision given that I do not dispute that I was given this substance. I apologize to my family, friends, fans, teammates and the Mariners organization. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received during this process, and I look forward to rejoining my teammates later this season," he continued.
The Mayo Clinic's website says, "Furosemide is given to help treat fluid retention (edema) and swelling that is caused by congestive heart failure, liver disease, kidney disease, or other medical conditions. It works by acting on the kidneys to increase the flow of urine." It also says it can be used in combination with other medicines to treat high blood pressure.
But ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn pointed out on Twitter that players are not automatically suspended for taking diruetics.
"The suspension means MLB was able to prove he was using it to mask a drug. Cano tested positive before the season, appealed and dropped the appeal," Quinn tweeted.
The Mariners said in a statement it was disappointed to learn about the violation.
“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," the club said.
Cano, 35, is in the fifth year of a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners that he signed before the 2014 season. He’s currently on the disabled list with a broken hand.
An eight-time All-Star, Cano has hit 305 career home runs and has hit the most home runs among American League second basemen in baseball history. He remains a virtual shoo-in to reach 3,000 hits - he has 2,417 with five more years on his contract - and those achievements would have surely made him a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Now, he becomes the most decorated player to be suspended for steroids since MLB nailed Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and others in the 2013 Biogenesis investigation - which did not involve a failed drug test, as in Cano's case.
No player ever suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, or even directly linked to PED use, has ever been elected to the Hall of Fame.
The Mariners entered Tuesday's games 23-17 and 1 1/2 games out of first place in the AL West as they aim to end baseball's longest playoff drought, which stretches to 2001.
Cano will be eligible to return to the roster in mid-August.