Sometimes it seems that Ichiro Suzuki just can’t help himself. If he’s paying someone a compliment, you can bet he’s trying to think of a way to turn it into a joke. For example, this was last night’s assessment of Robinson Cano.
“It’s unusual to have a guy with that kind of power be able to really cover that much of the plate and get hits,” Ichiro said. “If he can get a better personality, he’ll become a better player.”
Of course, Cano was all smiles last night. When this road trip started, he was hitting .229 with one extra base hit in his past 12 games. In his past four games, Cano’s hit .588 with three homers and a double.
“It’s impressive,” Andy Pettitte said, choosing not to make fun. “Especially when he starts it to right-center or center field in (Target Field). This ballpark plays pretty big, especially out there. Then to go opposite field, it’s impressive. He hit the ball well (last night). Swung the bat well. Hopefully he can keep it going. What a talent he is. It’s fun to watch him hit.”
Cano mentioned two changes…
Approach against lefties: “Before I was taking always one strike and then I was just going from there when they were pitching around. Now just get ready from the first pitch. Just take advantage of pitches over the plate.”
Using the whole field: “Not use the whole field, but just think more middle. Sometimes when I’m trying to go left field, it’s a breaking pitch and I just roll over. So I just say, you know what, I’m going to stay middle. And that’s what I’m doing.”
Reality is, the Yankees know how good Cano can be. As Chris Stewart put it: “He’s one of the best hitters in baseball when he’s feeling it.” And Cano’s been feeling it the past few days. These four games alone have been enough to raise his batting average from .276 to .293.
“He looks the same except he’s really swinging the bat well,” Joe Girardi said.
This depleted lineup needs its best hitter, and right now it has him.
“Sometimes you get on base and things can go from there,” Cano said. “Lately I’ve been getting on base and been getting men in scoring position and been doing my job. That’s what you want because I’m the third hitter on the team, so you want your fourth, fifth hitter and sixth to find you on base. If I get a chance to find one and get an RBI, then the guys behind me find me on base, and that’s what you want.”
Associated Press photo