Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is running towards greatness. (Image Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE)

Smooth Operator: The Evolution of the Yankees' Robinson Cano

When Robinson Cano replaced veteran Tony Womack at second base for the Yankees in 2005, it was clear from the start that Womack wasn’t getting his job back anytime soon and he never did. Cano has evolved into one of the best at what he does. The scary part is that at 29-years-old, he’s shown that he’s only going to get better.

The Yankees are currently steam-rolling their way towards another appearance in the playoffs and Cano has been a huge reason why. The 2012 season started off slowly for Cano, however he’s now swinging one of the hottest bats in baseball and was named an All-Star for the fourth time in his career. Ninety-one games into the season, Cano is hitting .320 with 21 home runs and appears to be completely locked in every time he’s at bat.

Cano makes it look easy out on the field, like anyone can field the type of second base he does or swing a bat as smoothly as he does. The reality is that Cano has worked hard to get to this level.

Confidence has never been lacking from Cano’s game and that’s been evident ever since his rookie year in 2005. It took a few mistakes on the field and a handful of talks from then Yankees manager Joe Torre. Cano also got an earful from veteran players on the team, encouraging Cano to realize that if he was going to stick with the Yankees for years to come, he was going to have to start maturing.

Year-by-year Cano has done just that…he’s matured.

One look at the stats and it can be concluded that Cano is statistically having the best year of his career. His contract is up for renewal soon and the Yankees know they’re going to have to take care of their second baseman. Cano has shown he’s worth it on and off the field.

It helps that throughout his career Cano has been fortunate enough to play next to Derek Jeter, one of the greatest to ever play the game. Jeter is the face of team and sets the tone on and off the field for the Yankees. Some of that seems to have naturally rubbed off on Cano.

Cano knows he’s good and he’s aware that at 29-years-old, he can get better. Today, Cano is one of the best hitters in baseball. He’s come a long way from hitting last in the Yankees lineup back in 2005 as a young yet confident rookie.

Looking back, Tony Womack never had a chance.

Tags: Derek Jeter Joe Torre New York Yankees Robinson Cano Yankees

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