Dipoto: Cano might return as part-time second baseman


When Robinson Cano returns to the Seattle Mariners in August, he might find himself in an unfamiliar role -- a part-time second baseman, according to Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto.

Cano was banished on May 15 for 80 games for violating the league's joint drug agreement, and Dee Gordon, who began the season as Seattle's center fielder, has been at second since May 18.

According to Dipoto, Gordon is likely to stay there after Cano's return.

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"We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do, but a lot of it is going to be dictated by where we are in the standings," Dipoto told ESPN.com.

"As versatile and athletic as Dee is, it's not that easy to go play center field for a month-and-a-half and then say, 'Oh, by the way, you're going to go play second base in the biggest game of your career when you just haven't been out there.' It's going to take some juggling and we'll have to figure out a way."

Cano, an eight-time All-Star, has a career .304 batting average, with 305 home runs and 1,206 RBIs in 14 seasons. When he was suspended, he was hitting .287, with an on-base percentage of .354 and a slugging percentage of .493. He had four home runs and 23 RBIs.

Cano's suspension also means he won't be eligible for the postseason, so whatever the Mariners figure out for his return, they won't be able to continue should they make the playoffs.

The Mariners entered play Tuesday tied with the defending World Series champion Houston Astros for first place in the American League West. They haven't made the postseason since 2001, the longest absence in the majors.

During Cano's suspension, the Mariners have been playing Gordon at second, Nelson Cruz as the designated hitter and working four players into the outfield spots: Mitch Haniger, Denard Span, Guillermo Heredia and Ben Gamel.

--Field Level Media

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