After years of being the subject of controversy in New York regarding his lack of hustle, Robinson Cano is no longer a New York Yankee. However, someone within the Yankees organization finally had the guts to speak up about it. Yankees’ hitting coach Kevin Long admitted Sunday, that he is still bothered by the fact that he could not get through to Cano to always hustle to first base on routine ground balls.
If somebody told me I was a dog, I’d have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.
Cano, 31, left the Yankees to sign a 10-year $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners earlier this offseason. Long told the Daily News that he is proud of how hard Cano worked in other areas to overcome deficiencies in his game during his nine seasons with the Yankees. “As a young kid, there were holes everywhere,” Long told the newspaper. “There were holes in his swing, in his makeup, in his body composition. This kid grew and grew. “All the other stuff — he’d take plays off in the field, he’d give away at-bats in RBI situations — he made a lot of personal decisions to get over the hump in those areas. People don’t know how hard he worked, how many times he was the one asking me to do extra work in the cage.”
But as hard as he worked in other aspects of his game, Long just couldn’t get Cano to break his habit of not running hard to first all the time. “I’m pretty sure [Derek] Jeter talked to him a number of times,” Long said. “Even if you run at 80 percent, no one’s going to say anything. But when you jog down the line, even if it doesn’t come into play 98 percent of the time, it creates a perception.” Long also told the Daily News that Cano would make up excuses as to why he didn’t run hard, such as he would “say his legs didn’t feel good, or he was playing every day and needed to save his energy” when asked why he didn’t always run hard to first. But the Yankees coach said, “To me there was no acceptable answer.” Will this motivate Cano to finally hustle, and try to live up to the third biggest contract in MLB history the Mariners rewarded him with? Only time will tell…