It was on May 3, 2005 that Robinson Cano went 0-for-3 in his Major League debut. He went 2-for-4 the next day, and six years later he’s a career .309 hitter and arguably the best second baseman in baseball.
“Whenever you see someone called up, we all think back to the first day we were called up and the excitement,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he was going to be a great player, had the opportunity to be a great player… I think you see a player that’s matured into something special: The middle-of-the-order hitter, an outstanding Gold Glove second baseman, doing all the things he needs to be to be considered a great player.”
Turns out, Girardi had seen Cano play in Triple-A in 2004. The Yankees had sent Girardi to Columbus to work with Dioner Navarro behind the plate, and he noticed Cano. Girardi remembered thinking, “Boy this kid’s talented.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cano has the most hits by a player whose primary position is second base within six years of a debut since Pete Rose had 1,111 over a similar span. Also from Elias, Cano is one of three active big leaguers with at least 1,100 hits and 100 home runs within six calendar years of their debut. The other two are Albert Pujols (1,159H, 250HR) and Todd Helton (1,119H, 209HR). Cano has 1,107 and 124.
“We want him more than six years,” Girardi said. “We want him to play a long time and be a force in the middle of the order for a long time.”
• Phil Hughes is flying from St. Louis to New York today and he’ll meet with Dr. Ahmad tomorrow. Girardi said yesterday that Hughes would begin a rehab program, but first he’ll check with the doctor to determine an exact next step. “I’m sure he’ll figure it out with Dr. Ahmad,” Girardi said. “I’m sure that’s part of what they’re doing tomorrow.”
• Rafael Soriano is the Yankees closer today. “Mariano is on a sabbatical,” Girardi said. “Hopefully only a day. It’s a short one. He’ll probably argue to pitch today, but we told him last night that he was off today.”
• Routine day off for Nick Swisher. Andruw Jones has terrific career numbers against Brad Penny — including an .875 slugging percentage in 45 at-bats — but Girardi said this is more about giving Swisher a rest than giving Jones at-bats.
• The plan is for Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner to each get a day off in Texas this weekend.
• Girardi on the temptation to pitch around Miguel Cabrera every time he comes to the plate: “You also understand this is a big ballpark and balls in the gap are going to score two runs, probably not just one, and it’s early on. He’s not hitting 1.000. I know he’s a great hitter. I had him. I know a lot about him. You try to be careful. You saw how careful we were to him the last at-bat. But you can’t just continue to walk people early in the game or you take pitchers out of their rhythm and it’s dangerous.”
• Cano on sitting out last night’s game: “I don’t like watching games. I was so bored.” He said he tried to stay busy by helping Eduardo Nunez with advice. Cano stayed in the dugout the whole time to watch.
Austin Jackson CF
Scott Sizemore 2B
Magglio Ordonez DH
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Ryan Raburn LF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Casper Wells RF
Alex Avila C
Brandon Inge 3B
Associated Press photos