Kevin Long understands the appeal of the home run derby, but he left no doubt yesterday: If he had his way, Robinson Cano would not be participating.
“I would prefer that he’s not involved in it, but that’s not my decision,” the Yankees hitting coach said. “…It’s just an exhausting process. It takes a lot out of you. It’s taxing. You see guys come back after the home run contest and it affects their swing.”
Long isn’t worried about Cano coming back suddenly hitting nothing but fly balls, but he’s worried that the exhaustion of trying to hit home run after home run might lead to subtle changes. The contest, he said, is a big difference from batting practice. Cano will be trying “launch” every pitch.
“It’s not so much altering a swing,” Long said. “You know he’s going to try to pull the ball quite a bit. I don’t think it’s going to affect his swing more than it’s just going to take a toll on his body.”
Joe Girardi said pretty much the exact same thing — “For me it’s fatigue because I don’t think Robby would change a whole lot,” Girardi said — but Alex Rodriguez said he would recommend Cano take advantage of the opportunity. He sees no harm in the derby.
“I’m not going with the mind to just hit the ball the farthest or anything like that,” Cano said. “Just go out there like I swing in BP. Regular swing and don’t try to do too much.”
Here’s Long talking about Cano in the derby.
And here’s Cano.