'Anxious' to return, Cano taking reps at 1st, 3rd

Mariners second baseman back in Seattle after workout period in DR

August 3rd, 2018

SEATTLE -- has returned to Seattle from the Dominican Republic to continue working out, but Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said on Friday that it has not yet been decided when the suspended second baseman will begin a Minor League stint prior to his Aug. 14 reinstatement.

"It's all TBD," Dipoto said. "But he is here now, and that will help determine the game schedule."

Cano spent the past four weeks working out at his family's baseball facility in San Pedro de Macoris, D.R., but he flew to Seattle on Thursday night. The 14-year Major League veteran became eligible to begin playing organized games as of Aug. 1, but that participation is up to the player.

The eight-time All-Star was suspended 80 games without pay on May 15 after testing positive for furosemide, a diuretic that is on the banned substance list because it's often used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.

Most suspended players typically take part in at least a week of games to regain their timing before rejoining their Major League club. Cano could potentially join any of the Mariners' Minor League affiliates at some point next week and then meet the club in Oakland for his Aug. 14 return at the end of the upcoming 10-day road trip.

Dipoto said Cano has faced live pitching daily in the D.R., though not at the level of current professionals.

"It's the best he could do in creating a level of competition," Dipoto said. "There's not much else we can do. But the way Robbie comes into Spring Training [off a similar offseason routine in the D.R.], he's typically ready to roll. His timing is good, and he's ready to hit."

Cano has been taking ground balls at first and third base as well as his normal second-base position. Though he's played second for all but one inning of his Major League career, Cano did play some at both shortstop and third in his Minor League days.

With Dee Gordon playing well defensively at second, the Mariners asked Cano to prepare himself for any scenario that would help upon his return.

"That's something we asked him to do, just move around the field," Dipoto said. "Take some ground balls at first and third and maintain at second, with the idea we want to make sure his bat is in lineup every day without taking away from the flow of what got us here. But as clearly seen, particularly over the last month or so, we are very much missing that offense, and he can go a long way toward helping rectify that."

The Mariners have gone 8-15 since July 4 and rank 29th out of the 30 MLB teams (behind only the Tigers) in scoring in that span. Meanwhile, Oakland has caught fire and is now a half-game ahead of Seattle for the American League's second Wild Card spot.

Things can change quickly, as evidenced by an ankle injury to Gordon in the ninth inning of Thursday's loss to the Blue Jays. Dipoto said Gordon's situation doesn't appear serious, and he's hopeful the speedster could return in the next day or two.

But that was another reminder that added versatility for Cano can only be beneficial. Though he's never played first base, the Mariners believe he'd be capable of splitting time with there while also filling in at times for Gordon at second, at designated hitter and potentially even at third.

Manager Scott Servais said Cano has expressed that he's ready and willing to do whatever he can to help the team reach the postseason, though Cano would not be eligible to participate in the playoffs due to his suspension.

"He's very anxious to get playing again," Servais said. "He can't wait to get back and help the team. Obviously, he needs to play in a few games here coming up, but he's very anxious to get back."