WASHINGTON — Robinson Cano’s former Yankees teammates were saddened to hear of the second baseman’s 80-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, but CC Sabathia knows better than to be stunned by that kind of news anymore.
“It’s surprising because I know Robbie, but after the Ryan Braun thing, nothing’s surprising for me,’’ Sabathia said of Braun’s 2013 ban.
Sabathia played with Braun in Milwaukee for the second half of the 2008 season following Sabathia’s trade from Cleveland.
“I never suspected anything,” Sabathia said of Braun. “You never know who’s doing what.”
General manager Brian Cashman called Cano, who signed with the Mariners following the 2013 season, “obviously an impactful player here. He’s a great guy. We enjoyed our time with Robbie and the person he was when he was with us. It’s probably best for me to leave it at that because he’s working for somebody else now.”
Cashman also stressed that if he had known the second baseman was violating the policy while with the Yankees, he would have been forced to tell MLB or incur a hefty fine.
“If I have any knowledge of anybody past or present, I’m obligated to convey that knowledge to Major League Baseball and I take that seriously,” Cashman said. “Knowledge is one thing. Suspicion’s another.’’
Cashman said in a text he was speaking generally and not referring to having suspicions or knowledge of Cano.
For other Yankees, the news was more personal, with Dellin Betances recalling Cano befriending him shortly after Betances was drafted by the Yankees in 2006.
“It’s kind of sad, to be honest,” Betances said. “He’s a close friend of mine. I really couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.”
Betances said he spoke to Cano after the slugger broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday.
“He’s a talented player,” Betances said. “You can’t take that away from him. It doesn’t change the way I look at him.”
Brett Gardner had similar thoughts.
“Any time you see a guy get suspended, it’s disappointing,” Gardner said. “He’s one of my favorite teammates of all time, really. It’s just sad to see that news. … It doesn’t change the way he was to me as a young player.”
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