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Yankees 'surprised' by Cabrera suspension

08/15/2012 4:56 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Melky Cabrera was hit with a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball on Wednesday.(AP)
News of Melky Cabrera’s positive testosterone test and subsequent 50-game suspension were just filtering through the Yankees clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon – and the initial reaction was one of surprise and sadness.

Derek Jeter, who has been battling Cabrera to be the MLB hits leader all season, had nothing but kind words for his teammate turned quasi-rival.

“I’m surprised. I enjoyed playing with him, I enjoyed watching him get better throughout the years,” said Jeter. “It's too bad."

That was a sentiment echoed by Robinson Cano, who was well known even to fans as being one of Cabrera’s best friends while he was in the Bronx – a friendship that is still strong three years after Melky was traded to Atlanta.

“I’m 100 percent surprised,” Cano told the assembled media. “I don’t know any details about it. You’ve seen the news. I feel sad (but) he’s my friend and I’m just going to be there for him.”

That “news” of course includes Cabrera’s admission of a mistake – and while the admission may seem hypocritical to some given Cabrera’s denial of a positive test to CSN Bay Area reporters a few weeks ago, it’s one that Alex Rodriguez praised the 28-year-old for making.

“I saw he made a statement. That's always a good first step, and sometimes the hardest,” Rodriguez said. “I'm sure he's sad and confused. He's a young man and has a great opportunity – and challenge – to turn a negative into a positive.”

Rodriguez, who was also close with Cabrera and became even more so after they worked out together in Miami during prior to the 2011 season, also said he would stand behind his friend.

"I’m a believer, I’m a friend. And at times like this, I’m not going to turn my back, I’m 100 percent here to support him,” Rodriguez said.

All of that aside, however, both A-Rod and The Captain praised MLB’s drug policy.

"That's why you have it, to filter that out. It's working,” Jeter said, with A-Rod adding that “The system’s in order, and it works.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who managed Melky as part of the 2009 World Championship team, echoed the sentiments of his players, and also felt for Cabrera as he enters a career crossroads..

“It’s disappointing. Obviously Melky means a lot to all of us and was part of our championship. He provided some really good moments here, and it’s something that everyone has to deal with,” Girardi said.  It’s something baseball’s trying to stay away from but it happened. We know that he’s going to miss 50 games, and it’s his free agent year … it’s unfortunate.”

Cabrera’s suspension is effective immediately, so he will miss the Giants’ final 45 regular season games, with the final five games to be served either during the postseason or the beginning of 2013 campaign.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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