NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Robinson Cano is hoping for a rousing welcome when he’s introduced at Yankee Stadium for the first time since bolting the Bronx in free agency.
Good luck with that.
“The way I left New York, I left in a good way. I’ll hopefully get a good standing ovation,” Cano told Jimmy Fallon during an appearance Monday on “The Tonight Show.” “But if it’s not I’m going to have fun. I’m still going to have some love for the New York fans, for all those years I was here. They were so patient and so kind to me, and I really want to thank them for that.”
After signing his $240 million, 10-year contract with Seattle in the offseason, the All-Star second baseman will return to New York as a member of the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night when they open a three-game series against the Yankees.
Cano figures the reaction will be mixed. He was supposed to be the next great Yankees player to spend his career in New York, following the lead of Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and the soon-to-be retiring Derek Jeter.
Players simply don’t’ give up the limelight of New York to go be isolated in the Pacific Northwest.
But Cano did, with contract security and millions of dollars behind making that decision. The flip side is now facing what he left behind.
“Sometimes people lose sight of that,” Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. “It’s not too often guys get an opportunity — in any sport — to play with one team their entire career. … As much as people would like to see guys stay with one particular team, it doesn’t always happen.”
@WFAN660 Yankee fans should applaud him, like I said yesterday, it's punishment enough for him to have to play in Seattle the nx 10 years.— Mario (@4904mario) April 29, 2014
Cano knows that his comments the day he signed with Seattle still have reverberations, when he said he didn’t feel respected by the Yankees with their contract offer. The Yankees’ top offer was $175 million over seven years.
“I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort,” Cano said last December.
Cano tried to play down over the weekend how the separation from the Yankees happened, saying his focus was on being back in Yankee Stadium and seeing friends and former teammates.
“I don’t want to blame anybody. I’m looking forward to going there,” Cano told reporters.
Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon had no worries about how Cano would handle his return and the questions that are likely to come.
“I’m sure he’s going to be happy to get back to Yankee Stadium, obviously in a different role. He’s a professional. He’ll answer his questions and get ready to play,” McClendon said.
“Other than that he’s probably more anxious to get out on the field and play than deal with the media,” he said.
Cano will face the first-place Yankees putting up numbers thus far that were expected and with a team that has settled down after an eight-game losing streak. He is Seattle’s top hitter with a .301 average.
Cano has just one home run, but the Mariners have been consistent that he wasn’t acquired to be a home run hitter. Cano has 11 RBIs, scored 10 runs and been a teacher to others in Seattle’s lineup.
The most noticeable has been his work with Justin Smoak, who leads the team in RBIs and doubles through the first four weeks.
It’s the only trip for Seattle to New York this season.
“It’s going to be weird seeing him over there,” Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “But by the second or third inning, it’s going to be the same game.”
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