Robinson Cano has played in 120 games this season. He’s one home run away from a career-high, he long ago passed his career-high in walks and his on-base percentage is 41 points higher than his career OBP.
“This is just a different year,” Cano said. “I’m trying to put everything behind. Just go out there and swing at strikes and get something that I can drive.”
The amazing thing about that quote: It’s from April 7.
As a group of reporters huddled around Cano’s locker this afternoon, I couldn’t help but think back to March and April. Today we were asking about Cano’s three-day stint as the Yankees clean-up hitter. Back then we were asking how he felt to be trusted in the No. 5 spot.
“The game of baseball, you always have to keep improving and learning,” Cano said during spring training. “I feel like I’m one of the guys that has to keep learning and keep improving and show people that I can still play the game.”
Cano has put himself among the best hitters in the game, and he’s preached patience throughout. He’s talked about keeping things simple, about trying not to do too much. It’s the same thing player after player has said day after day, but Cano has lived it since spring training.
“To think that he wouldn’t tail off at some point is really hard to fathom,” Joe Girardi said. “In Alex’s absence, he’s stepped up to the four spot and done a tremendous job.”
• Alfredo Aceves will make another rehab start this weekend. He’ll make it in Portland, Maine, going three innings for Double-A Trenton. Girardi couldn’t remember whether the start would be Saturday or Sunday, but it’s likely Aceves will make at least one more before rejoining the big league bullpen.
“We’re not just considering Portland, Maine to be his last appearance,” Girardi said. “We have them spaced out. This is spring training for him, and we think he still needs to build some arm strength and get sharper. But I told him, if we feel there’s a need, we’ll call him back. I’m not saying we don’t want him back, but we want to make sure he’s ready before we call him back.”
• Andy Pettitte told reporters that he expects to travel with the team to Toronto next week. Girardi said that’s possible, but he hasn’t talked to anyone about Pettitte’s final plan for the week. “His plan has not changed,” Girardi said. “We were basically going to give him six or seven days off. It’s possible he’ll be accompanying us to Toronto.”
• Girardi’s not sure when Alex Rodriguez might play the field. “A lot of it depends on how he feels,” Girardi said. “It’s one thing to watch him and say he feels great, but he has to let me know when he feels he’s ready to go and play the infield.”
• The Yankees have gotten a few short outings from starters lately, and they’re in the middle of a lot of games in a row, but Girardi said he’s not worried about the bullpen workload. “We have two long men and we’ve been able to rest guys,” he said.
• Curtis Granderson went 6-for-13 in this week’s series against Detroit. “Ever since he’s made those slight adjustments with K-Long, we’ve seen much better at-bats and more consistent at-bats,” Girardi said. “And we’re excited about that.”
UPDATE, 6:12 p.m.: So far, no lineup changes for the Yankees. I have to think Rodriguez is staying in there. Here’s the Seattle lineup.
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 2B
Russell Branyan DH
Jose Lopez 3B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Casey Kotchman 1B
Adam Moore C
Matt Tuiasosopo LF
Josh Wilson SS
Associated Press photo of Cano