User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Embracing a new role, Cano ready to go

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Robinson Cano turned the World Baseball Classic into a personal display.

Advertisement
There was a backhanded grab and glove flip to start a double play against Venezuela. There was a home run he crushed off the second deck against Italy. And, in the end, there was an MVP award for helping the Dominican Republic win the international crown.

``He had a great series,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``They were pitching around him and he still hit the ball well.''

None of this is anything new. Cano already has established himself as the top second baseman in the majors during eight seasons in New York. He's a four-time All-Star with four Silver Slugger Awards, two Gold Gloves and three straight top-6 finishes in the AL MVP race.

But, it was a different Cano at the WBC. Wearing his country's name on his chest brought out his leadership.

``Robbie not only played well, but also he became the leader of that team,'' said Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, who managed the Dominican Republic to an 8-0 run in the tournament. ``Robbie led the way. He got everybody together and told them what was the purpose of being there. He had an incredible series with the bat and with the way he handled himself with the team.''

Cano hadn't shown a vocal side with the Yankees. He didn't have to, either. Derek Jeter is the captain of a team that features a star-studded cast. There's Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte.

Cano simply went about his business quietly and did it better than anyone. He's averaged .314, 29 homers and 102 RBIs over the past four seasons. He's durable, too. Cano has played at least 159 games six straight years.

But these aren't the same Bronx Bombers anymore. They've been depleted by injuries in spring training. Jeter, Rodriguez, Teixeira and Granderson won't be in the lineup against Boston on opening day and all of them except Jeter may be out at least a couple more months.

It's Cano's team now - and going forward.

``Cano was a great leader in the Classic,'' said Felix Lopez, the Yankees' chief international officer. ``Maybe he can be the leader that he was of that team and take us to great things.''

Pena is sure of it.

``I know he could do it,'' he said. ``He's starting to grow into that. Sometimes players need time to know what their role is. Definitely I think he'll be more vocal and he will lead the way.''

Cano is 30, no longer the young kid on the block. He'll make $15 million in the final year of his contract and is set to become a free agent after the season. A $100-plus million deal awaits him in the near future and there's no way the Yankees could let him walk.

But Cano will leave it to his agent, Scott Boras, to handle that. He's focused on the present.

``Hopefully I'll continue doing the same things I've been doing every year, just go out there, play hard and help the team to win games,'' Cano said. ``Hopefully the guys that we have help us to just stay in the race until we get everybody back.''

Like several of his teammates, Cano has a bitter taste left from last year. The Yankees were swept by Detroit in the AL championship series and the offense struggled from top to bottom. A-Rod was benched, Granderson, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin flopped in crunch time, and Cano was 3 for 40 in the postseason.

``That bad feeling, I still have in my heart from last year,'' Cano said. ``But I've got to put that behind me and just play this year.''

Cano's impressive performance in the WBC - .469 (15-for-32) with four doubles, two home runs, six RBIs - can be the prelude to another strong season. At the least, it helped erase some of the sting from last October.

``You can't predict anything in baseball and the WBC and the season are different,'' Cano said.

Cano and the Yankees hope the predictions for the season don't come true. For the first time in years, the Yankees and Red Sox are underdogs. Toronto made a big splash in the winter, adding five All-Stars. Baltimore made the playoffs last year. Tampa Bay has won 90 games three years in a row.

The AL East just might be the toughest division in baseball.

``It's definitely arguably the toughest,'' Granderson said. ``Every game when we play each other, no matter if it's beginning of the season or at the end is going to be an important one. Things definitely will come down to the end of the season and which team can stay healthy the longest and be hot at the right time, and which team will pitch the best and right now all the teams have great pitching. There won't be an easy game when you face anybody in the American League East.''

Cano is up for the challenge.

``I think Robbie is a great professional, great player and won't step back in anyway,'' Lopez said. ``He's a competitive individual and he gives every at-bat 100 percent no matter what.''

---

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Akins: Diamond Trends - Tuesday
News: Win Total Update
Lawrence: September Pitchers Report
Nats beat Braves, near NL East crown
O's top Jays 5-2, close to AL East title
Zobrist leads Rays over Yanks in 9th
Tigers power past Twins, 'over' hits
Royals come back to top ChiSox in 9th
Marlins strike late to stun Mets, 6-5
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
32-16 Last 6 Days, +9,057 TY
7-2 +569 L9, 28-14 +1,711 L42
13-6 L19, 21-8 MLB Win Streak
+4,371 Overall This Year
+4,336 Net Profits This Year
8-3 L11, 11-4 +825 L15 Guarantees
15-7 Last 22 Guarantees
30-15 Last 45 MLB Selections
6-3 L5 Days, 33-17 L50 G-Plays
7-2 L9, 29-11 L40 Guarantees
12-7, +653 Last 19 Plays
5-2 Last 7, 10-5 Last 15 Picks
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks - New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
2014 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 9057
Doc's Sports + 4371
Kevin Rogers + 4336
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
James Manos + 2592
Kevin Rogers + 2392
Dave Cokin + 2195
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2381
Tony Stoffo + 1398
Joe Williams + 818
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Doc's Sports + 2398
Dave Cokin + 1931
Kyle Hunter + 1790
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 3213
Kevin Rogers + 1954
Doc's Sports + 1148
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 3031
Kevin Rogers + 2350
Doc's Sports + 1795
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy NFL Perfect Lineup Contest