Cano will head to the Dominican Republic before the All-Star break to work out for longer hours. He can begin playing on a "rehab" assignment in the minor league system two weeks before his return date.

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In just over a month, Robinson Cano’s 80-game suspension for a violating the Major League Baseball’s joint drug agreement will come to an end.  He’ll finally be eligible to return to a team that has created an opportunity for its first postseason berth since 2001 in his absence.

But the process to be ready and able to contribute for Cano after the suspension has already begun. He’s been cleared for full baseball activity following surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto gave an update on the suspended All-Star second baseman on Tuesday.

“The hand is fully healed, which happened about as quick as we thought it would,” he said. “He’s now hitting full time and taking his ground balls and getting his work in.”

Cano usually arrives at Safeco each morning around 10 a.m. to get treatment followed by workouts in the weight room and on the field.

“He’s here every morning, and he does his work,” Dipoto said. “He’s really working very hard. He’s focused on contributing when he comes back, not just returning.”

By MLB rule, he’s not allowed to be on the field when other MLB players are out there working out. So he’s usually done by noon.

“But he sticks around  and spends some time in the clubhouse once the players start arriving,” Dipoto said. “He’s remained in contact with his teammates that way.”

Cano is scheduled to head to his home in the Dominican Republic before the All-Star break. He and his father, Jose, have a large baseball complex in his hometown of San De Macoris. Cano will work out with his personal trainers and the staff there. He won’t have the limitations of MLB rules.

“It’s a way for him to get a lot more on-field activity than we can provide,” Dipoto said.

Cano is tentatively eligible to return on August 14. That date is affected by a game being postponed because of rain. As part of the joint drug testing agreement, Cano can start a “rehab stint” in the minor league system two weeks before the day he’s eligible to return. So if he remains on track to return on August 14, he could begin playing in minor league games on August 1. Cano play those games at any level of the minor league system.

And what position will he be playing during that rehab stint or upon his return?

“We’ll talk to you about that later,” Dipoto said with a smirk.

Dipoto has said upon multiple occasions in the past, including the day that Cano’s suspension was announced that he wouldn’t return to a full-time status at second base. Because he’s ineligible for the postseason, Cano would have to share time at second base with Dee Gordon, who has filled in quite capably in his absence and would presumably player there in the postseason.