Teammates stand behind Polanco

Shortstop getting support after receiving 80-game suspension

March 19th, 2018

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A day after being suspended 80 games for the use of a performing-enhancing substance, Twins shortstop met with the media on Monday at Hammond Stadium, apologizing for his actions, but not getting into specifics on how he tested positive for Stanozolol.
Polanco said in a statement on Sunday that he took a tainted combination of vitamin B12 and an iron supplement from his trainer in the Dominican Republic, but focused more on apologizing to the organization, his teammates, his family and his fans on Monday.
"I know how everything happened and the details, but today is not the day to discuss those things," Polanco said through a translator. "Today is the day for me to be here, and be in front of everyone with the Twins' organization and my fans, and just apologize."
Polanco said he found out about the positive test about a month ago and immediately appealed, only to drop it on Sunday. He's not eligible to return until June 30 at the earliest, and isn't eligible for postseason play. He said he'll stay back in Fort Myers to train before he's eligible to return.
"It was difficult to drop the appeal," Polanco said. "But out of respect to the organization, I did it, and I just want to move forward to take the responsibility."
While Polanco knew about the result a month ago, the Twins didn't find out until Polanco met with chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and manager Paul Molitor on Sunday morning. Falvey explained it's a Players Association issue, and that's why the front office wasn't informed.
"When he shared it, I was saddened and disappointed," Falvey said. "It's a mistake, and he owned it. Guys make mistakes, and he's someone who admitted it right from the get-go. We're going to support him. I truly believe he's a good kid."
Polanco, 24, is coming off his first full season as the club's starting shortstop, hitting .256/.313/.410 with 13 homers and 74 RBIs in 133 games. He had a huge second half that saw him hit .293/.359/.511 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs in 63 games, batting third down the stretch with out with a shin injury.
With Polanco out, the Twins are expected to turn to as their starting shortstop, with as his backup. Non-roster infielder also has a better chance to make the club as a utility player as a result.
"Jorge is one of the better guys, one of the more educated guys, and one of the more respectful guys," said Polanco's agent, Ulises Cabrera. "All of us, we feel for him and the situation he's in, because he's one of the best guys to come through this system. It's been difficult for him, and he feels a responsibility to the organization. He loves the Twins, and they're the team that believed in him since Day 1."
Twins players were surprised by the suspension, but vowed to be supportive of Polanco, who took the news hard. Polanco has yet to meet with his teammates, but said he plans to address the entire team later this week.
"It's bad right now. He was crying last night," said third baseman Miguel Sano, who has known Polanco since childhood in the Dominican Republic. "It's just a difficult situation. I told him I'm his teammate, his brother from back home, and I'm here to support him."
"We want a clean game, but with that being said, people make mistakes," Twins second baseman said. "That's the world we live in. And more than ever, Polanco needs a little love right now. That's my brother. That comes first."