Some love left in NY for Cano

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.comApril 30, 2014 

NEW YORK — It’s been a Robinson Cano whirlwind since the Mariners arrived in town. There was an appearance, and a skit in Bryant Park, on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Cano also made an appearance at the MLB Fan Cave where he, among other things, danced with Melanie Iglesias. MLB Network also aired some videos Tuesday from Cano in Seattle.

You can see clips from all of it at: http://bit.ly/QZooBh

The Fallon skit, taped Monday, asked Yankees fans if they wanted to boo Cano (they did), and invited them to do so to a life-sized picture. Then Cano walked out from behind the picture, and those fans turned sheepish.

“That was kind of fun,” Cano said at a pregame news conference at Yankee Stadium. “I know I’m not a Yankee anymore. I have to understand the fans. They’re not going to cheer for you.

“They’re going to boo you because you’re on the opposite team. The last thing they want is for you to come here and do well. I have to understand that, and I (do).

“But I’ve had a lot of love from these fans, and I’m looking forward to (Tuesday night).”

There were lots of boos from the crowd of 37,484, but the Mariners rallied for a 6-3 victory. Cano went 1-for-5 with an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base.

“I really didn’t (see anything different from Cano),” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I thought he went about his business pretty good.”

Cano emphasized a “looking forward” approach by generally refusing to revisit questions regarding his departure from New York or the negotiation process that led to his 10-year deal with the Mariners for $240 million.

“One thing you have to understand,” he said, “this is a business. I can’t control the Yankees. I can control myself. They made a decision, and I guess we’re both happy. Because I’m happy where I’m at right now.

“I’m happy to be a Mariner. Good luck to them.”

Cano said he had long looked forward to returning to New York, where he spent nine seasons, but not from any motivation to stick it to the Yankees.

“I’m going to play the game like I play any other game,” he said. “I’m going to play the game to win, and go out there and do my job. … I’m just happy to be back and see guys I’ve played with for a long time.

“It’s nice to be able to say (hello) to them and to be able to say thanks to the New York crowd for the way they treated me while I was here.”

Cano acknowledged, as he has in the past, there are differences between New York and Seattle.

“The Yankees are a team that has won a lot of championships,” he said. “They have fans all over the place. It’s always crowded. Being in Seattle. … I don’t know much about Seattle. We’ve only had two homestands there.

“I can tell you in a year what the difference is. But right now, I can tell you one thing: I’m happy there. They’ve embraced me. The fans. The organization. And my teammates.”

IWAKUMA UPDATE

Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma threw a bullpen workout before Tuesday’s game, which could be the final step before he returns Friday to the rotation for the start of a three-game weekend series in Houston.

For now, though, McClendon continues to hedge, saying only: “He’ll pitch somewhere Friday. I’m not sure where yet.”

Iwakuma, 33, threw 83 pitches over four innings Sunday in a rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma at Las Vegas, which marked his first game action since being diagnosed in February with a strained ligament in his middle finger.

The numbers weren’t great: three runs (two earned) and six hits, and Iwakuma characterized his command as only “so-so,” but he reported no problems with his finger.

“It was my first game in a long time,” he said through an interpreter. “I was trying to get the feel back for the game. I’ll need some more time, but it’s going to be there.”

Iwakuma said he’s ready to pitch Friday but hasn’t been told anything yet.

LINEUP MOVES

Left fielder Dustin Ackley and shortstop Brad Miller opened Tuesday’s game on the bench because McClendon opted for right-handed bats (Stefen Romero and Willie Bloomquist) against Yankees lefty CC Sabathia.

“It gives us pretty good balance,” McClendon said. “I like to balance left-right as much as I can. As far as Willie playing short, I did not want to put Miller back in the lineup against CC.

“Giving Ack a breather against a tough lefty, also. He’s my left fielder, and he’ll play. Just not today.”

Ackley, in fact, did play Tuesday, driving in Cano on a single while pinch-hitting for Cole Gillespie in the seventh inning.

LOOKING BACK

It was two years ago Wednesday — April 30, 2012 — that the Mariners achieved a franchise first when two catchers hit home runs in the same game.

Miguel Olivo was the starting catcher and gave Seattle a 1-0 lead with a homer in the second inning against Jeremy Hellickson at Tampa Bay.

Olivo played until the ninth when he exited after suffering a strained right groin while fielding a ball in front of the plate. Jesus Montero, who had been the DH, shifted to catcher, and the Mariners lost use of the DH.

Montero opened the 11th inning with a homer against Wade Davis for a 2-1 lead. But the Mariners couldn’t hold it. Brandon League gave up RBI singles in the 11th and 12th innings in a 3-2 loss.

BONUS LOOKING BACK

It was 75 years ago Tuesday — April 30, 1939 — that Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig played in the last game of his 2,130-game streak, which stood as the major league record until Cal Ripken broke it.

Gehrig went 0-for-4 in a 3-2 loss to Washington at the original Yankee Stadium. The Yankees had an open date on May 1, and Gehrig asked manager Joe McCarthy not to play in a May 2 game at Detroit.

Gehrig never played again.

SHORT HOPS

Outfielder/designated hitter Logan Morrison isn’t with the club. He is still battling a strained right hamstring that surfaced prior to an April 14 game at Texas. … Cano is still the all-time leader at the new Yankee Stadium (opened 2009) in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and RBIs. … The Mariners continue to list High Desert third baseman D.J. Peterson as “day to day” in his recovery from hamstring tightness he experienced on April 21. They haven’t placed him on the seven-day disabled list.

ON TAP

Weather permitting — and it doesn’t look good — the Mariners continue their three-game series against New York at 4:05 p.m. PDT on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. Lefty Roenis Elias (1-2, 3.54 ERA) will face Yankees right-hander David Phelps (0-0, 3.86), who is getting a spot start while ex-Mariner Michael Pineda serves a 10-game suspension for using pine tar while pitching.

Root Sports will broadcast the game.

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners

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