With Robinson Cano making his return to the Bronx tonight, I wanted to share my story from today’s paper. I’ll be back on Friday for the series opener with the Tampa Bay Rays. — Vincent Z. Mercogliano
NEW YORK – It’ll be an odd sight for Yankees fans, but come Tuesday, Robinson Cano will take the field at Yankee Stadium in a Seattle Mariners uniform.
A mixed reaction is expected, but chances are most fans won’t be rolling out the welcome mat.
“I think the fans really loved what Robbie Cano did for us,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s probably similar to Jacoby (Ellsbury) and what he did for the Red Sox. Sometimes seeing a player in another uniform, you’re going to get some people that are upset. But overall, I think that people were happy with what he did in a Yankee uniform, which would make me believe that you’re going to hear some clapping.”
CC Sabathia will be the first Yankees pitcher to get a crack at his former teammate, but he said there aren’t any hard feelings over Cano’s decision to accept a massive 10-year, $240 million contract from Seattle.
“We had a good relationship,” Sabathia said. “It’s going to be tough to face (former teammate) Curtis (Granderson with the Mets), too, but it is what it is.”
Sabathia’s attitude toward Cano seems to represent how most of the Yankees feel. The Yankees are often the team that goes out and makes big offers to the top free agents, and now they know what it feels like to be on the other end.
“Baseball is a business like any other business,” Derek Jeter said. “Sometimes people lose sight of that. It’s not too often that guys get an opportunity in any sport to play with one team for their entire career. As much as people would like to see guys stay with one particular team, it doesn’t always happen.”
Cano has performed reasonably well in his short time with the Mariners, hitting .301 with 11 RBI through 24 games, but he has managed to hit only one home run. He’s also had to endure a recent eight-game losing streak that left Seattle sitting at 10-14 overall.
“He was a great player here,” Girardi said. “He was a champion (in 2009). He was a guy that played every day. He came to work every day and expected to be in the lineup every day.
“I’ve often said that I think the one thing that was maybe kind of overlooked on him a little bit was his toughness. We saw it plenty of times; he’d get hit by a pitch and you didn’t think that he’d play the next day, and he would. That was Robbie. Robbie loved to play and had a great smile, and a lot of times, he made it look really easy. But he was a really, really good Yankee. That’s who he was.”
Associated Press photo