Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Martin comes to ex-teammate Cano's defense

Special to MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Leonys Martin said he's talked to Robinson Cano and that he believes in his friend and former teammate.

Martin, the Tigers' center fielder, says there's no way the Mariners' superstar second baseman masked performance-enhancing drugs with a diuretic Cano said was prescribed by a doctor in the Dominican Republic. Major League Baseball suspended Cano 80 games on Tuesday.

View Full Game Coverage

SEATTLE -- Leonys Martin said he's talked to Robinson Cano and that he believes in his friend and former teammate.

Martin, the Tigers' center fielder, says there's no way the Mariners' superstar second baseman masked performance-enhancing drugs with a diuretic Cano said was prescribed by a doctor in the Dominican Republic. Major League Baseball suspended Cano 80 games on Tuesday.

View Full Game Coverage

And, Martin says, players around the league criticizing Cano for excuse-making need to back off. Martin played with Cano on the Mariners in 2016 and for most of 2017, when Seattle traded Martin to the Chicago Cubs at the end of August.

"We are really good friends," Martin said. "He's having a hard time right now. It's not an easy process. As a friend, I don't believe it. I know Robbie, and he's not the type of guy to disrespect the game. He doesn't need that. He's got no reason to do that.

"Everybody knows he got sick a couple years ago," Martin said.

Cano, 35, had sports hernia surgery to the left and right sides of his abdominal area in October 2015 after playing 156 games that season for Seattle. That was the second year of the 10-year, $240 million contract Cano signed with the Mariners before the 2014 season.

"I shared a clubhouse with Robinson Cano," said Martin, who is expecting to come off the disabled list Friday from a strained hamstring to play in the second game of this four-game series at the Mariners. "He's the type of guy who has to be aware of what he eats. … So that's why he was trying to take care of his stomach, or whatever.

"I don't make an excuse, but I don't think he did that. I know Robbie. He's not that type of guy. He's got no reason to do it. Two-hundred-forty million? He's the type of guy who's [close] to Cooperstown. He's got a lot to lose. So he's got no reason to see Robbie Cano doing that. He's the type of guy who would never do that.

"He needs more money? Let's think about that."

When Major League announced Cano's suspension on Tuesday, Martin was visibly upset inside the Tigers' clubhouse in Detroit. He was angry not just at what happened to his friend, but at what he was seeing on television and social media from other players around baseball. Some mocked Cano for excuses.

Justin Verlander, the former Tigers ace now with the Astros, posted on his Twitter account Tuesday as the news of Cano's suspension broke: "Aaaand excuse coming in 3….. 2…… 1……."

Tweet from @JustinVerlander: Aaaand excuse coming in 3..... 2...... 1......

"Everywhere you go, you see people talking about Robbie. You see players on social media talking trash about Robinson Cano," Martin said. "And they don't even know what happened. That's the thing that I don't get. That's why I get so mad. He's a special player, and we are supposed to be one family in this game. Don't judge nobody in this game. That's why I don't get it.

"We are not allowed to judge anybody. We don't know the reason. We don't know what happened, for real. So I don't get it. We are supposed to be one family, MLB, the players. That's what I don't get it. You see players writing stuff on social media. I don't get that [expletive]."

Martin then hit on one theme of the criticism of Cano. It's a friction as old as the game itself: pitchers versus hitters, and vice versa.

"You see pitchers out there using pine tar. That's cheating, too. To get a better grip on the breaking ball? That's cheating, too," Martin said. "Nobody's talking about that. …

"You never know, what's happened to Robinson Cano today can happen to you tomorrow. That's how it is.

"But it's OK. He's going to be OK. I know Robbie, and he's going to be OK. He's going to get out of this, and he's going to be fine."

Gregg Bell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle.

Detroit Tigers, Robinson Cano, Leonys Martin