NEW YORK – Strike two against Robinson Canó.
The New York Mets second baseman was suspended for 162 games by Major League Baseball on Wednesday after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug for the second time in his decorated career.
The 38-year-old Canó will miss the entire 2021 season and lose $24 million in salary. The eight-time All-Star hit a robust .316 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in this year’s pandemic-shortened season.
Minus Canó, the Mets could give offensive sparkplug Jeff McNeil a regular spot at second base — probably his most natural position. The suspension also might prompt them to pursue free agent infielder DJ LeMahieu, an AL MVP contender the past two years with the crosstown Yankees.
The penalty came less than two weeks after Steve Cohen bought the Mets for $2.4 billion, a move that created an avalanche of positivity for a team that has reached the playoffs just three times in the last 20 years.
The commissioner’s office said Canó tested positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. He was penalized 80 games in May 2018 while with Seattle after a positive test for Furosemide, a diuretic that some athletes have used to mask other substances.
“We were extremely disappointed to be informed about Robinson’s suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” new Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “The violation is very unfortunate for him, the organization, our fans, and the sport. The Mets fully support MLB’s efforts toward eliminating performance-enhancing substances from the game.”
There was no immediate comment from Canó or the players’ union.