Robinson Cano says ‘no chance’ he hits 40 homers

5 Comments

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.

Reds having Michael Lorenzen prepare as a two-way player

Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

For decades, a legitimate “two-way player” — a player who functions as both a pitcher and as a position player — was nothing but a fantasy. The skill sets required for both are too distinct and require too much prep work, it was thought. The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shattered that illusion in 2018, posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances as a hitter while posting a 3.31 ERA in 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher.

Since then, several more players have been considered in two-way roles. The Rangers signed Matt Davidson earlier this month and could potentially use him as a corner infielder as well as a reliever. Also earlier this month, James Loney signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters, who plan to use him as both a first baseman and as a pitcher.

You can add Michael Lorenzen of the Reds to that list. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will have Lorenzen prepare this spring as a two-way player. He could both start and relieve while occasionally playing in the outfield. Lorenzen, in fact, took batting practice with the outfielders on Thursday. Previously, he had taken batting practice as extra work following a workout with fellow pitchers.

Lorenzen said, “It’s fantastic, the effort they’re putting in. A lot of the excuses were, ‘You know, we don’t want to overwork him.’ Well, let’s just sit down and talk about it then. They were willing to sit down and talk about it, which is one of the reasons why I love this staff so much and why I think the front office did a great job [hiring] this staff. They’re willing to find solutions for problems.”

New manager David Bell said, “We’ve put together a plan for the whole spring, knowing we can adjust it at any time. We didn’t want to go into each day not knowing what he’s going to do. We all felt better, he did, too. He was part of putting it together.”

Lorenzen, 27, pitched 81 innings last year with a 3.11 ERA and a 54/34 K/BB ratio. He’s one of baseball’s best-hitting pitchers as well. Last year, he swatted four homers and knocked in 10 runs in 34 trips to the plate. The last pitcher to hit at least four homers in a season was the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, who did it in both 2014 (four) and 2015 (five). Lorenzen also posted a 1.043 OPS. According to Baseball Reference, there have been only 11 pitchers to OPS over 1.000 (min. 30 PA). The only ones to do it in the 2000’s are Lorenzen last year, Micah Owings in 2007 (1.033) and Dontrelle Willis in 2011 (1.032).