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Robinson Cano says ‘no chance’ he hits 40 homers

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New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is a very good player, and with a few more seasons like 2010 (.319, 29 HRs, 109 RBIs, 103 runs), he could even become great.

But even he knows it’s wise to keep expectations in check. So on Wednesday when Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long said he wouldn’t be surprised if Cano hit 40 home runs this year, Cano essentially did this.

When he regained his composure, he shared his thoughts on the matter with the media, including Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:

“No chance.”

After the laughter died down, it became obvious Cano was serious. “Maybe if you put in an extra half a season,” he said. “That’s not in my mind. I don’t think I’m a home run hitter. Most of my home runs are line drives. If I hit it, thanks God. But it’s not the kind of thing that I think about. I just go out there and try to have a beter season than I had before. Home runs are not in my mind.”

Amusing story, but Cano is right. He isn’t Adam Dunn. Nor is he Ken Griffey Jr., who interestingly also always insisted he wasn’t a home run hitter.

Cano has an ultra-quick, compact swing and can drive the ball out of the park — particularly to the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium – when he catches it right. He’ll hit his share of homers, but that’s not all he’s about.

And while Long was merely heaping praise on a star hitter, Cano is wise to focus on just hitting the ball hard, and letting the home runs come when they do.

You can follow Bob on Twitter, and get all your HBT updates here.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.