Mariners’ Robinson Cano happy to put troubles from 2015 behind him

Feb 25, 2016, 8:37 AM | Updated: 9:30 am
Robinson Cano dealt with a stomach illness last year then had sports-hernia surgery in the offseaso...
Robinson Cano dealt with a stomach illness last year then had sports-hernia surgery in the offseason. (AP)
(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Robinson Cano took his turn with the media Thursday before the Mariners’ first full-squad workout. He declared himself almost 100 percent after an offseason that began with a double sports-hernia surgery.

“I would say 98 percent,” he answered when asked where he feels he’s at physically. “It feels good. I have been running, doing exercises. It feels good.”

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

Cano seemed relieved to have both the surgery and the early-season illness he suffered last year behind him. While stressing he didn’t want to make any excuses, he said there was a time when it became too much.

“It was a hard time for me that only my family knows that,” he said, “until there was a day I told the trainer, ‘We have got to find a way.’ Sometimes I am on the field, I run to first base and I feel so tired, but thank god I got healthy and I am back and hopefully nothing happens this year.”

Cano said he felt it was important that he was close to 100 percent for the start of spring training and that for him, the season starts now. There will be no playing catch-up as long as he is healthy, which he insists he is.

There was one other issue from 2015 to put behind him and that was the comments made by former Mariners coach Andy Van Slyke, who in a radio interview in St. Louis last fall said it was Cano who cost the coaching staff their jobs.

“Honestly, it didn’t hurt me,” Cano said. “Coming from a guy like him, doesn’t bother me at all because I know how I play; you guys know. If you hear the comment first he throw me under the bus and then he was like, what is so great about myself. You didn’t know what he was trying to say. Andy, I don’t know. It doesn’t even matter to me.

“A lot of people call me and I’m not going to waste my time and say anything back. I got a call from the manager that was apologizing because he said all this stuff. He was a guy who always talked to me during the season; you saw that. I don’t know how come he said everybody got fired because of me.”

As for a claim that followed shortly after in the New York Daily News that Cano had told those close to him that he was not happy in Seattle, he said that was flat-out not true.

“I never said that,” Cano said. “They always say the source or the friend. I never talked to a friend or nobody. I always tell you guys that I am happy to be here and happy to get my chance here to be able to play the end of my career here, have fun with the guys. The city has treated me so nice – even you guys, the media. I never said that.”

With injury and controversy behind him, Cano is ready to take the field with his teammates, many of whom are new. As a veteran, he will be leaned on for leadership by Scott Servais. Cano has limited history with his new manager but remembers Servais from the trips he made to the Dominican Republic in his previous jobs with the Angels and Rangers.

“I have heard good things about him,” Cano said. “I am the kind of guy that I do not focus on the manager because I know managers, they know how to do their jobs. For me, it is more about getting to know teammates because we are going to be on the field and I know Servais is going to do a great job.”

Cano likes the changes he has seen with the team.

“For a team to win, you don’t need big names. You just need the right pieces and I think that is what Jerry (Dipoto) has done,” he said. “The front office and the organization has done a great job in the offseason. Hopefully everyone will stay healthy and we can go out and play the right way.”

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