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Mariners GM: Don’t be surprised to see Robinson Cano at first base

Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano may find himself at first base and other positions once he returns from his suspension. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano may find himself at first base and other positions once he returns from his suspension. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
By Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Friday that Robinson Cano will be used at a few positions when he returns from his suspension next month, including first base.

Where Cano ends up defensively is one of the big questions once he’s eligible to return on Aug. 14 from his 80-game suspension for violating baseball’s joint drug agreement. He’s been a second baseman for the entirety of his major league career, but it may not be his primary position when he comes back.

Following the suspension, Seattle moved Dee Gordon from center field back to his natural position at second base.

“We’re looking at Dee as our second baseman. There may be a time especially mid-August to the end of the season where he slides out to center field for a day, but primarily he’s going to play second base,” Dipoto said. “We sat down and talked with Robbie and Robbie said, ‘Whatever I need to do to help this team get to the postseason.’ He was great about it.”

Cano recently relocated to the Dominican Republic to start ramping up toward his return, including doing infield work at first and second base. Dipoto said while Cano will continue to get some work at second base, he will also get time at first base and will be the designated hitter on days when Nelson Cruz needs a break.

Once the non-waiver trade deadline passes, Dipoto intends to travel to the Dominican Republic to see how Cano is progressing.

“Robbie going out really hurt our lineup and the fact this group of players was able to come together and rise up; I don’t want to state the obvious in a blunt way but if you think we’re a better team without Robinson Cano in our lineup, you’re crazy,” Dipoto said. “We are a better team when he’s in there. That being said, this group has done a remarkable job.”

Seattle started the post-All-Star break portion of the season on Friday at 58-39 and holding the second wild-card in the American League. Seattle was 36-22 after Cano’s suspension.

Before leaving for the Dominican Republic earlier this month, Cano said, “I would do anything for the team. This is not about myself this is about us as a team.”

“Right now we think the best team we can put on the field includes spotting Robbie in those different spots, maintain Dee at second base and in center field Guillermo (Heredia) has done a remarkable job defensively,” Dipoto said. “We’ve got to find some way of getting everybody on track offensively.”

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