Mariners notebook: Less strikeouts, more extra-base hits a good sign for Robinson Cano

Mar 18, 2016, 11:46 AM | Updated: 12:14 pm
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After Robinson Cano’s disappointing 2015 season and offseason sports hernia surgery, it was reasonable to have skepticism about the 33 year old’s potential going forward.

The good news: Cano’s not providing much reason for concern in spring training.

The Mariners second baseman has looked every bit the six-time All-Star he is, hitting .333 (9 for 27) with a .357 on-base percentage and 1.135 OPS. He also has three home runs, the latest of which was a majestic shot over the right-field bullpen in Thursday’s game with the Athletics (video above).

Mariners spring training: Latest news, photos, video and more

Of course, spring training stats are not quite indicative of how a player’s season will go. In fact, Cano hit .364 in spring training last year. What could be some telling stats, however, are his strikeout and extra-base hit numbers. In 2015, Cano struck out 12 times to seven extra-base hits (six doubles, one homer) in 55 spring training at-bats. This spring, he’s struck out just once and already has five extra-base hits (one double, one triple and the three homers) in 27 at-bats.

Those numbers may not completely assuage any fears about Cano for this season, but they certainly don’t promote any, either.

Lineup

Nori Aoki, LF

Ketel Marte, SS

Kyle Seager, 3B

Nelson Cruz, RF

Franklin Gutierrez, DH

Chris Iannetta, C

Jesus Montero, 1B

Shawn O’Malley, 2B

Leonys Martin, CF

Nathan Karns, RHP

After James Paxton’s rough outing Thursday, Karns has a chance against the Rangers to further establish himself as the favorite to win the No. 5 rotation spot. Check out Jim Moore’s piece about the Mariners’ plan to use either Karns or Paxton in the bullpen this season…Adam Lind was originally in the lineup at first base but was scratched due to illness and replaced by Jesus Montero…Leading off for Texas will be a familiar face: James Jones. The former Mariners outfielder was part of the trade that brought Leonys Martin to Seattle this offseason…Speaking of Martin, he’s hitting ninth for the Mariners, a spot he’ll likely find himself hitting out of regularly during the season.

Notes

• The Mariners optioned three players, including Mike Zunino, to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. They also re-signed right-handed reliever Justin De Fratus, who had been released earlier this week, to a minor-league deal. The full story can be read here.

• Backup catcher candidate Steve Clevenger joined “Danny, Dave and Moore” on Thursday and shared, among other things, his thoughts on how the bullpen should shake out.

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Mariners notebook: Less strikeouts, more extra-base hits a good sign for Robinson Cano