SHANNON DRAYER

Return to All-Star Game is about recognition, not redemption, for Mariners’ Robinson Cano

Jul 5, 2016, 5:12 PM | Updated: Jul 6, 2016, 9:50 am

While additions will be made over the next week, for now, Robinson Cano is traveling solo to the All-Star game as the only Mariner selected to the American League team. For Cano, who failed to make the team last year for the first time since 2009, it’s not about redemption after a down year as some might think. It’s about the deserved recognition for hitting .303/.358/.535 in the first half.

“I didn’t have anything to prove to myself. Everybody knows I was hurt,” Cano said of his 2015 season before acknowledging that he heard the negative talk. “Sometimes the comments bother because there are people out there that they don’t care if you are hurt or not. They think you are a machine. You have got to go out there and perform every day because you get paid a lot of money. We all want to do that. I wish every time I go I hit a homer.”

Homer or no homer, being able to write Cano’s name into the Mariners’ lineup every day is something manager Scott Servais has put a high value on.

“When you are there every day you understand and appreciate it a little more,” Servais said. “You certainly appreciate it. The defense has been good. I know sometimes fans get a little frustrated because Robbie has a certain style he plays with. He makes the game look very easy. From watching it every day, I certainly appreciate how talented he is.”

Getting healthy was key to Cano’s success in 2016. Coming back from the double sports-hernia surgery he had last fall required extra work and extra time away from his home in the offseason. Like everything else he does, he made the recovery and bounce-back look easy. It was anything but easy, but it was part of the job.

“As a player, I give everything I got,” he said. “People take for granted. They don’t realize how hard I work and how I prepare myself to play every day. Even in New York a lot of people criticize that I am lazy, but I know how I work and how I prepare myself. I don’t think if you are a lazy guy you will be able to play that many games every year.”

In addition to what he has done on the field, Servais has great appreciation for Cano’s contributions off the field.

“He’s taken on a much bigger leadership role than I have asked him to,” Servais said, “from the first day of spring training up until the other day when we had our meeting. It’s been good. There has been a lot of give and take, back and forth, things that he sees, things that I see that I need him to impress upon some of the guys on the club.”

This will be Cano’s seventh All-Star appearance. It will be special because for the first time he will have his son with him on the field. He holds out hope that there will be teammates joining him as well.

“They both have numbers to go,” he said of Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager, who weren’t on the initial American League roster but could be added as injury replacements. “It’s not over yet. We have another week. There’s Last Vote. I hope they make it. It would be a lot of fun.”

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Return to All-Star Game is about recognition, not redemption, for Mariners’ Robinson Cano