Alex Rodriguez on Robinson Cano's PED suspension: 'It will be a long road back'

Since Robinson Cano’s 80-game suspension for using a banned substance, people have been waiting to find out what Alex Rodriguez has to say about it. And not just because Cano and Rodriguez are friends and former teammates — A-Rod is one of the more famous PED users in recent memory. What could he be thinking now that both he and Cano have been popped for banned substances? We finally found out on Sunday.

A-Rod was in the booth for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Houston Astros, and play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian asked Rodriguez for his thoughts on Cano’s suspension. And A-Rod was honest about his trepidation up front, saying that it was “a tough one for me because I do love Robbie.” A-Rod and Cano were teammates on the New York Yankees from 2005 to 2013, which is when Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners.

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Robinson Cano through his career
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Robinson Cano through his career
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano hangs on the dugout rail in the eighth inning of the Yankees' 7-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in New York, May 29, 2005. Rey Sanchez played in place of Cano in tonight's game. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky JAZ
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano strikes out swinging on a pitch from Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Derrick Turnbow with no outs, and a baserunner on second base in the ninth inning at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin June 6, 2005. The Yankees went on to lose to the Brewers 4-3 giving them six loses in the last seven games. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson AF/TC
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano reacts as he watches his two-run home run of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Chris Benson in the third inning of their MLB baseball game in New York's Yankee Stadium April 21, 2006. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine
American League All Star Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees listens to a question at a news conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 10, 2006. Major League Baseball will hold its 77th All Star Game on July 11. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES)
New York Yankees' Robinson Cano (L) celebrates his eighth inning three run home run in the dugout with teammate Bobby Abreu against the Kansas City Royals during their American League baseball game in Kansas City, Missouri September 4,2006. REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES)
New York Yankees player Robinson Cano leaves the dugout after his team was defeated by the Toronto Blue Jays at the end of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto May 29, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA)
Baseball team New York Yankees' Robinson Cano poses during the team's photo day at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida February 21, 2008. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES)
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano throws out Boston Red Sox Mark Kotsay (not pictured) to end the third inning of their American League MLB baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts September 26, 2008. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES)
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano watches the ball after he hit a home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES SPORT BASEBALL)
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano (R) is mobbed by teammates including CC Sabathia (C) and Joba Chamberlain (L) after he hit a single to score the winning run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the 11th inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
New York Yankees Robinson Cano gestures towards teammate Melky Cabrera after Cabrera drove him in on a hit against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning in Game 4 of their Major League Baseball ALCS playoff series in Anaheim, California October 20, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES SPORT BASEBALL)
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano swings as he hits a grand-slam home against the Cleveland Indians in the seventh inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York May 28, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Seattle Mariners runner Josh Wilson slides under New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano (R) after he was forced out at second base on a ball hit by Mariners batter Ichiro Suzuki in the fourth inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York August 20, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
New York Yankees' Robinson Cano (L) is congratulated on a solo home run by teammate Derek Jeter in the second inning during Game 4 of their Major League League Baseball ALCS playoff series against the Texas Rangers in New York, October 19, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano stands in front of the scoreboard at Fenway Park reflecting the seven runs the Boston Red Sox scored during the fifth inning of American League MLB baseball action at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts April 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
American League All-Star Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees practices before Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Kansas City, Missouri July 10, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
New York Yankees Robinson Cano blows a bubble while rounding the bases with a solo home run in to tie the game against the Oakland Athletics during the ningh inning of their MLB baseball game in Oakland, California July 20, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Dominican Republic's Robinson Cano smiles after hitting an RBI single against the New York Yankees during the fifth inning of their exhibition baseball game in Tampa, Florida March 6, 2013. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Dominican Republic's Robinson Cano holds his gold medal after his team defeated Puerto Rico in the final to win the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco, March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees speaks with reporters before the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Home Run Derby in New York July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Dec 12, 2013; Settle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (center) poses for a photo with Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik (left) and Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon (right) during a press conference at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) motions to his former teammates on the Yankee Bench during his first at bat against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) hits a two-run homer against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 5, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) runs the bases after hitting a two-run homer against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 21, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) celebrates following his game winning walk off sacrifice fly ball against the Toronto Blue Jays during the twelfth inning at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Toronto 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Guillermo Heredia (5) gets a hug from second baseman Robinson Cano (22) after hitting the game tying home run against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
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But after that caveat, A-Rod opened up and told Vasgersian and the entire Sunday Night Baseball audience his thoughts on Cano’s suspension.

“I do know that it will be a long road back, a tough road back, but I’m confident that Robinson Cano is going to come back and continue his spectacular career and I hope at the same time he can learn a great lesson and make his life even better.”

No one knows how difficult the road back from a PED suspension can be quite like A-Rod. He was suspended 162 games and sat out the entire 2014 season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. He played in 2015 and part of 2016 before retiring, and since then he’s been open and honest about his past PED usage, calling himself “a big jerk” and “stupid” for using. Post-retirement, he’s become an analyst for Fox Sports, he’s part of the Sunday Night Baseball crew with Vasgersian and Jessica Mendoza, and he’s been dating Jennifer Lopez. That’s a heckuva comeback.

Cano probably won’t exactly follow A-Rod’s path on the comeback trail, especially since Jennifer Lopez is already taken. But the humility and humor A-Rod has shown since his retirement is what’s helping him overcome his past. If there’s anything Cano can learn from A-Rod’s journey, it’s definitely that.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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