For years here, I have espoused what I like to call the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy. It comes up every time there’s a controversy over a player not hustling. Busting it out of the batter’s box on a ground ball is, I argue, not worth it 99 percent of the time. The risk of getting injured outweighs the small chance of reaching base. It is not one of my popular viewpoints.
Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is the latest lightning rod in the hustle controversy. The veteran twice failed to run hard on what became double plays. Manager Mickey Callaway benched him on Monday for the lack of effort. Upon his return yesterday against the Nationals, the crowd booed him during an 0-for-4 effort.
On Wednesday, Canó came to the plate with a runner on second base and two outs in the third inning against Max Scherzer. He grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. He ran hard, though and suffered an injury in the process. Laura Albanese of Newsday reports that he left with left quad tightness.
Work smarter, not harder.