Mickey Callaway: Robinson Canó has ‘got to control his running effort’

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Mets second baseman Robinson Canó has been something of a lightning rod for criticism when it comes to hustle. It dates back to his days as a Yankee. For example, in 2013, Michael Kay bashed Canó on Twitter in between innings, saying he “really couldn’t care less.” It was an offense that lasted into the next year.

Canó was again embroiled in controversy this year when he twice didn’t run hard on ground balls in May. Manager Mickey Callaway benched him for his lack of hustle. Ironically, Canó was injured shortly thereafter hustling on a ground ball. He spent two weeks on the injured list before returning. Canó suffered another injury a month ago, a torn left hamstring. Somehow, he recovered from that in about a month, having been activated from the injured list earlier today.

Speaking to the media, including Newsday’s Tim Healey, prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Nationals, Callaway said that Canó has “got to control his running effort.” Callaway added, “He’s done that really well his whole career. He’s got to continue to do that.”

That’s a level of irony even the Internet isn’t prepared to handle. Canó has, for basically a decade and a half, been hearing from every direction — including Callaway — that he needs to put in more effort. Run out those ground balls and pop-ups that are outs 99.9 percent of the time. He even got injured listening to these people. Then, after recovering from said injury, Callaway says he has to “control his running effort.” I would slam my hat down in frustration, look to the heavens and yell, “What do you people want from me?”

Canó had it right all along. Work smarter, not harder.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).