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T.J. Quinn: Case against Robinson Cano is ‘clear’

Robinson Cano has been suspended 80 games for violating the joint drug policy. (AP)

When it was first reported that Mariners’ second baseman Robinson Cano would be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s joint drug agreement, some fans wondered why the diuretic Furosemide, for which Cano tested positive, would be so incriminating. Furosemide is used to treat fluid retention but is also seen as a masking agent for performance-enhancing drugs (in fact, it’s on the league’s list of banned substances). It’s the latter use that the league remains convinced was behind’s Cano’s positive test – and according to ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn, the case against Cano is “clear.”

“The people I talked to who were familiar with what’s gone on said Major League Baseball has not been able to figure out what the drug was,” Quinn told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom. “That’s something they’re apparently still looking into. They want to know what was going on.

O’Neil: Cano’s suspension is not a sign of moral failing

“You know, it’s funny, it’s almost like a loophole in the system. Under the world anti-doping code, if you’re an Olympic athlete and you get tested, that’s it, you’re busted. But baseball allows this exception that (you will not be suspended) unless they can prove that you were trying to mask something, which is a pretty tough standard. The fact that they had something sufficient to get (Cano) to drop it and to eat $12 million of his contract just makes that statement look pretty flimsy.”

Quinn said the league’s investigative process is thorough. If a player were to test positive for a diuretic, the league would look into medical records, talk to the physician to see why a diuretic would be prescribed, and talk to people around the player. According to Quinn, Cano tested positive for the diuretic before spring training, filed an appeal, and later dropped it.

“I’m not a lawyer, but it’s very similar to in a criminal case when someone pleads no contest,” Quinn said. “You’re saying, ‘I’m not saying I’m guilty, I’m just saying I’ll take the punishment.’ It’s as good as guilty. And in this sense, this is guilty. He’s saying, ‘Yeah, I did violate the policy because I had this drug in me.’ But again, the burden is on baseball to prove that he was trying to use it; that is a tough standard for them.

“It’s not just a matter of saying there’s no good explanation for this. It’s saying we have proof that that is not why you were taking it. So he doesn’t really have a leg to stand on to say, ‘Ah, no, this is all just a big mistake.’”