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<  Shannon Drayer

Raul Ibanez, Mariners teammates hope suspensions bring their game closer to clean

By Shannon Drayer

Years ago, when the Mitchell Report and other various drugs suspensions came out, they would often be greeted with a level of skepticism from some in the clubhouse. Those days are over.

"People are going to do what they are going to do. That is something that is totally out of everyone else's hands," said reliever Charlie Furbush, the Mariners' players union representative. "Ultimately they have to serve the consequences. I am sure they had an idea of what could happen. Obviously, we all support the process."

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"I think it is a sad day for baseball," Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez said of the players suspended in connection with the Biogenesis investigations, a list that includes current and former teammates. (AP)
Outfielder Raul Ibanez had even stronger words. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about things.

"It is simple in that, work your ass off," he said. "Do everything right. Find the training regimen for you. Be determined to succeed. It is simple but it is not easy to maintain the discipline and the hard work to do it. If they made the punishment worse, I am not going to get on the soapbox and say I want them to do this or I want them to do that, but I am all for it."

As for seeing a former teammate and one of the faces of baseball, Alex Rodriguez, implicated as one of the biggest offenders, Ibanez could only shake his head.

"Disappointed," he answered when asked for his thoughts about Rodriguez. "It's just disappointing, the whole thing. It is terrible for the game of baseball. I think it is a sad day for baseball."

Ibanez, Furbush and the rest of the Mariners will have to deal with a teammate who was also caught cheating, catcher Jesus Montero.

"Our union and MLB are going to take care of the things that they need to take care of," Furbush said. "Obviously, we all support everything that is going on in the suspensions. They did something wrong, they have to serve the consequences.

"I am sure it is a reality check, learning process for that person in that position. We just have to move on from there. When that time is served and he gets back, it is in the past, we can't do anything about it. There is only so much you can talk about it once everything is taken care of. We have got to get a clean game back."

Montero will be sent to Arizona to continue working out and most likely will be asked to play winter ball to try and get more work after the season. Before he heads to Arizona, however, he will have to sit down and have a talk with general manager Jack Zduriencik.

"We are going to get together in the next day or two," Zduriencik said. "Chuck Armstrong will be with me. We will sit down and we will just have a ... fireside chat."

Montero will get on with his suspension and the Mariners will get on with trying to win baseball games. The hope is that with every cheater caught and every suspension issued the game will move closer to being clean. It is what the players want, both for their reputations and that of the game they play.

"I am disgusted by the whole thing but it's really not that different than our society," Ibanez pointed out. "If you look at the prison population compared to the most of the rest of us, most of the rest of us pretty much abide by all of the rules. The sins of the few kind of cast the cloud on many. It is terrible.

"The flip side of it is if you look statistically it still proves that the overwhelming majority of us are clean and have done it the right way and I try to focus on that and move forward."

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