Padres sign Robinson Canó, plan to use him off the bench

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
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ATLANTA — The San Diego Padres have signed veteran second baseman Robinson Cano to a major league contract and plan to use him as a left-handed bat off the bench.

Cano was not in Friday’s lineup against the Atlanta Braves. Acting manager Ryan Christenson said he could get some occasional starts at second and designated hitter.

The New York Mets, who released Cano on Sunday, owe him nearly $45 million remaining on his original contract signed with Seattle. He will earn a prorated share of the $700,000 minimum.

Cano, 39, was designated for assignment on May 2 after hitting .195 with one home run and three RBIs in 43 plate appearances for the NL East-leading Mets. He sat out last season serving a second suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Cano has a .302 career batting average with 335 home runs, 1,305 RBIs and an .842 OPS in 17 seasons. He has 2,632 hits, including 571 doubles. Cano is owed nearly $45 million by the Mets from the remainder of the $240 million, 10-year contract he signed with Seattle. He has lost over $35 million because of the two drug suspensions.

With the fourth-highest career batting average among all active major leaguers, Cano trails Miguel Cabrera (.310), Jose Altuve (.307) and Mike Trout (.305). He ranks third among active players in hits, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits and runs scored. Cano has 316 homers as a second baseman, second all-time to Jeff Kent’s 351.

The Padres optioned pitcher Dinelson Lamet to Triple-A El Paso in a corresponding move.