Derek Jeter remains the iconic player in the Yankees clubhouse. He’s the Captain, the team’s leader off the field and arguably the most interesting player on the field all-time status and career-low numbers. Jeter is the Yankees icon, but the team’s MVP might be the guy six lockers away.
This morning, Robinson Cano showed up a day late but looking the same as ever.
“He can hit. He can play defense. He can throw,” Jeter said. “I think the thing that makes him so good is he has fun. You look at Robbie, he’s always smiling. He’s got a smile on his face whether he’s in the clubhouse, on the field. He gets a hit or he hits a home run, he looks like he’s never done it before. He really enjoys playing the game, and I think that’s really helped him in improving the last few years. You look forward to seeing him so happy, because it rubs off on everybody.”
We spend a lot of time talking about “the next step.” It means different things for different players, and for Cano it means moving from all-star to superstar. He seemed to take that step last season.
“Here, you learn from the guys that have been here for a long time and always had great years,” Cano said. “You get to know the league. That’s what I did. I had a good year last year, but I put that in the past now and just start over.”
Here’s some audio from Cano, and a few Cano-related notes.
• Cano said switching agents to Scott Boras had nothing to do with looking for more money. “They have a great company,” Cano said. “A company that can do everything for you, not only on the field, but off the field too. That’s why I went there. It’s nothing that I’m just thinking about a big contract or anything.”
• The Yankees will almost certainly pick up Cano’s options, meaning he’s signed through 2013. Cano said he has no plans of asking the Yankees for an extension.
• Cano said he never considered the idea of Jeter leaving this winter. “I don’t even pay attention to those things,” he said. “In my mind, he was going to come back. We all know he’s a Yankee. That was the kind of thing that I don’t really worry about.”
• As for Andy Pettitte: “He’s a guy we’re going to miss. He was a great teammate. A great worker. We’re going to miss him.”
• Speaking of work, Francisco Cervelli approached Cano about working out together this offseason, and Cano told Cervelli to come to the Dominican Republic. That’s when the training began. “In the offseason, he never worked that hard,” Cano said.
• Eduardo Nunez also worked out with Cano this winter. “He just needs the time,” Cano said. “Get his experience like anyone else. He’s got good talents, and he can be a good player.”
• Would Cano like to bat third this season? “In this lineup, anywhere that I hit I don’t care,” he said. “We all do our job. Anywhere I hit in this lineup, it don’t matter to me.”
• On winning a Gold Glove: “It means a lot. That’s one of the goals that any player would have on his mind, to win a Gold Glove. Now that I’ve won one I’m so happy, I’m going to work even harder to do that again.”
Associated Press photo