Sports

Rough week: Robinson Cano first suspended, then former teammate throws him under bus

Robinson Cano’s career is basically over.

The Mariners star will get a chance to play again when he returns from his 80-game PED-related suspension, and he likely will continue to be regarded as one of the best second basemen in the game.

But the Cano who looked like a good bet for the Hall of Fame threw away his reputation with the decision to use a banned diuretic often used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.

His career never will be the same, and his accomplishments always will be suspect. If there was any chance of Cano convincing people this was a one-time mistake, former Yankees teammate Mark Teixeira made sure that won’t happen.

During an interview with Yankees TV broadcaster and radio host Michael Kay, Teixeira implied he knew Cano juiced with the Yankees.

“I don’t really want to get into too much detail,” he said. “I love Robbie, but I’m not surprised.”

Love is throwing your old friend under the bus when he just got busted — and without a smoking gun to prove your point.

Teixeira suggested a “paper trail” links Cano to the Biogenesis scandal, saying an employee of Cano’s foundation was on the list of clients at the Florida “rejuvenation” clinic that dispensed PEDs to players.

Cano was not implicated in the scandal that led to suspensions for Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Nelson Cruz and several others.

“Look at his situation here: Robbie Cano’s assistant was on the list for Biogenesis,” Teixeira said. “Of course, he has an assistant, you know, buys stuff for him. Alex Rodriguez got popped by Biogenesis. Melky got popped.

“They’re best friends. When someone gets lumped into that group, it’s because there’s evidence. There’s a paper trail. There’s a smoke trail.”

Wherever that trail leads, Cano will have to get used to being known as a drug cheat the rest of his playing days. And if history is any indication, his Hall of Fame bid is over.

But there is a bright side. When he’s done, Cano always can work for Fox Sports or ESPN, like Rodriguez, or become a hitting coach, like Mark McGwire, or have a team retire his number, like Barry Bonds.

One door closes in Cooperstown, but another opens elsewhere.

Odds and ins: With the season at the quarter-pole, it looks like a great American League MVP race is brewing among Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Manny Machado, assuming he isn’t dealt to a National League team.

But in the NL, it’s anyone’s award.

The only player who has dominated is Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer, but he’s only second in ERA. The two players tied for highest WAR (2.2) heading into the weekend were Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain.

That shows you why betting on baseball is such a crapshoot.

Cain wasn’t even on the list of 45 players given odds in March to win the NL MVP award, according to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Neither was Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies, who was tied for the league lead in home runs (13) entering Friday, or Cubs infielder Javier Baez, who led in RBIs (36), or Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera, who led in average (.361).

The Dodgers, who were 9-4 favorites to win the NL pennant and 5-1 favorites to win the World Series, look dead in the water. The Phillies, a 50-1 long shot for the pennant and 100-1 to win it all, look like the real deal.

But it’s a long season, and maybe Vegas will be proven right come October. By the way, the top two favorites in March to win the NL MVP were Las Vegas natives Bryce Harper (3-1) and Kris Bryant (4-1).

Song remains the same: Former White Sox organist Nancy Faust has been elected to the Shrine of the Eternals, a Hall of Fame of sorts selected by the Baseball Reliquary in Pasadena, Calif.

The organization, which describes itself as dedicated to “fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history,” inducts three members every year.

The Shrine of Eternals honors individuals “who have altered the baseball world in ways that supercede statistics” and includes such diverse personalities as Jim Bouton, Ted “The Famous Chicken” Giannoulas, Dizzy Dean, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Jim Eisenreich, Jimmy Piersall, Bill Veeck Jr. and Minnie Minoso.

Faust, voted in by members along with former players Tommy John and the late Rusty Staub, was honored for being “the most famous ballpark organist of the past half-century.”

The Baseball Reliquary noted that Faust teamed up with Sox announcer Harry Caray on “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at old Comiskey Park and that her “greatest contribution to sports history” was playing Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” in 1977 when opposing pitchers were removed from games, a tradition that continues 41 years later.

Faust will be inducted in a ceremony July 22.

Three up

Justin Verlander: Astros ace recorded career strikeout No. 2,500 and reduced his league-leading ERA to 1.05; allowing a league-low .146 average.

Carlos Martinez: Cardinals ace has allowed as many home runs (one in 50 innings) as he has hit (off Lucas Giolito); 1.62 ERA leads the NL.

Manny Machado: May be having the best walk year in recent memory, hitting .339 with 40 RBIs in first 42 games for Orioles as he awaits a trade.

Three down

Blake Swihart: Despite the Red Sox reserve’s .133 average and .212 OBP, his agent publicly says it’s time for a trade.

Dave Roberts: Dodgers manager gets the proverbial kiss of death with assurance by management he’s safe for 2018.

Dexter Fowler: Former Cubs leadoff man has the lowest average (.154) of any qualified hitter. Cards teammate Chris Carpenter is third-worst at .164.

The list

Highest avg. pitch velocity (mlb.com)

Pitcher, pitch, mph

Jordan Hicks, Cardinals, 2-seam FB, 99.4

Jordan Hicks, Cardinals, sinker, 99.2

Aroldis Chapman, Yankees, 4-seam FB, 98.8

Tayron Guerrero , Marlins, 2-seam FB, 98.2

Tayron Guerrero , Marlins, 4-seam FB, 98.0

Jose Alvarado, Rays, 4-seam FB, 98.0

Jose Alvarado, Rays, 2-seam FB, 98.0

Fact check

The RedsJim Riggleman is one of 14 people to manage at least five major-league teams (also the Cubs, Padres, Nationals and Mariners). The list includes Lou Piniella, Billy Martin, Davey Johnson, Jeff Torborg, Joe Torre and Jack McKeon. Three people have managed six teams: Jimmy Dykes, John McNamara and Dick Williams.

psullivan@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @PWSullivan

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