Mets infielder Robinson Canó will begin his comeback attempt next week. The veteran is set to make his season debut with the Estrellas Orientales of the Dominican Winter League on Wednesday, according to the team’s Twitter account.
Canó, who recently turned 39, received a 162-game suspension on Nov. 18, 2020, after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance and did not play for New York in 2021. It was his second suspension under MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program; Canó was also suspended for 80 games in 2018 as a member of the Mariners.
Canó, who arrived in Queens, N.Y., along with closer Edwin Díaz in a trade with the Mariners in December 2018, has two years and $48 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 contract he signed with Seattle prior to the 2014 season. New York is responsible for $20.25 million of his salary in 2022 and ’23.
An eight-time All-Star, Canó struggled in his first season with the Mets in 2019, hitting hit just .256 with 13 home runs in 107 games while dealing with multiple leg injuries. In 49 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he slashed .316/.352/.544 with 10 homers.
It remains to be seen if Canó can be productive at age 39, and his future with the Mets is still up in the air. If the team chooses to retain him, he could get a look at second base or even third, or serve as a left-handed bat off the bench. Should the National League adopt the designated hitter in 2022, Canó could also fill that role.
In 16 Major League seasons with the Yankees, Mets and Mariners, Canó has slashed .303/.352/.492 with 334 home runs and 1,302 RBIs. Though he once seemed like a lock to join the 3,000-hit club, he is still 376 hits shy of that milestone.