Hand 'fully healed,' Cano eyes Aug. 14 return
Mariners 2B serving 80-game suspension for violating drug policy
SEATTLE -- Suspended second baseman Robinson Cano's hand is fully healed and the eight-time All-Star has been taking batting practice daily at Safeco Field as he prepares for his Aug. 14 return, general manager Jerry Dipoto said Tuesday.
Cano is 45 games into his 80-game suspension for failing a test for a banned substance. The suspension came down a day after he fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand when hit by a pitch at Detroit on May 13.
The 35-year-old can't be with the Mariners during their formal workout times at Safeco Field, but he can come early and hit before games and will be headed to his home in the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break later this month so he can continue practicing at his own facility.
"He is fully healed, which happened about as quick as we thought it would," Dipoto said. "He's now hitting full time and taking ground balls and getting his work in. He'll start getting a little more on-field activity [in the Dominican]. He has his own complex he shares with his dad."
Cano will be able to begin a Minor League rehab stint two weeks before his suspension ends, so he'll report to one of the Mariners' farm clubs at the start of August.
"He's in here in the morning, does his work in the weight room and is really working very hard," Dipoto said. "He's focused on contributing when he comes back, not just returning."
As for whether Cano might be open to playing somewhere besides second base upon his return, given Dee Gordon has handled that position well in his absence?
"I'll talk to you about that later," said Dipoto.