Posted February 17, 2014

Yankees hitting coach: Team couldn’t get Robinson Cano to hustle

MLB
Kevin Long has been the Yankees' hitting coach since 2007. (Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Kevin Long has been the Yankees’ hitting coach since 2007, Robinson Cano’s third season. (Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Robinson Cano’s hustle — or lack thereof — is no longer the Yankees’ concern, as the second baseman signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners two months ago.

But Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long is still bothered that neither he nor anyone else with the team could get through to Cano about his lack of hustle.

“If somebody told me I was a dog,’’ Long told John Harper of the New York Daily News on Sunday, “I’d have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.’’

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Long was speaking specifically about Cano not running hard to first base on routine ground balls.

“He overcame so much while he was here,’’ Long said. “As a young kid, there were holes everywhere. There were holes in his swing, in his makeup, in his body composition. This kid grew and grew and grew.

“We all talked to him. I’m pretty sure [Derek] Jeter talked to him a number of times. Even if you run at 80 percent, no one’s going to say anything. But when you jog down the line, even if it doesn’t come into play 98 percent of the time, it creates a perception.”

Cano, 31, is a five-time All Star who has a .309 average, 204 home runs and 822 RBIs in nine big league seasons. Those numbers were a direct result of the extra work he did in the batting cage, Long said.

“All the other stuff … he’d take plays off in the field, he’d give away at-bats in RBI situations. He made a lot of personal decisions to get over the hump in those areas. People don’t know how hard he worked, how many times he was the one asking me to do extra work in the cage.’’

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45 comments
mystafugee
mystafugee

Seeing how the Yankees hitters fared last season, I think Long should focus both publicly and privately on his own hitters.  

muser
muser

I remember the press conference at the half built Safeco Field with Griffey, A-Roid and Edgar Martinez taking turns hitting BP. Very few balls made it through the heavy Seattle air and over the fences. You could see the looks on the players faces. Griffey and Aroid were on the phone to their agents moments later. Watch for Cano to develop that look...

kdbarbershop
kdbarbershop

Why not say this publicly when cano was still in ny? Kevin Long is a bitter little man.

sbernson
sbernson

It seems like a reasonable analysis once you read exactly what was said. Yankee fans probably remember that "Cano needs Larry Bowa to keep him in line" was a generally accepted thought for a while there. Robbie has grown a lot since then, but for some reason continued to jog down the line once a game. 


Long acknowledged both sides of the coin: the great hitting talent that required a bit of maturity to become what he is today, and the occasional loafer who will not be coaxed into hustling out routine ground balls.

Rico1
Rico1

People keep missing something here, hence taken out of context. If you read on, after he mentions the lack of hustle all he does is praise the man. But no one is commenting on that!

William27
William27

he speaks the truth. yankee fans know the downside to Cano

he will not do great in Seattle, he will get very lazy

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

Kevin Long … just like the rest of the Yankees coaches and players … LOSERS!!!!!

samiam1
samiam1

Bad form, Kevin Long.  If Cano lacks hustle, why did the Yanks want him back?  You might want to sound a bit classier by censoring yourself.

rtinfow2
rtinfow2

Cano was actually a very hard year round worker.  Don't understand the lack of hustle out of the box, but it was annoying. 


Speed puts pressure on the defense which leads to mistakes.  I don't understand half effort at $93k per game.



MrArlington
MrArlington

I have a solution that the Yankees could have used. Bench him and use peer pressure to "shame" him. It worked in Philly with Rollins.

Frank14
Frank14

is running out full speed a sure out ground ball really all that necessary?  looks a bit silly actually.

WilliamGabrielson
WilliamGabrielson

And the testicularly impaired broadcasters never mention the chronic loafing.

DanDeeley
DanDeeley

Anyone watching Yankee games long enough saw the way Robinson Cano dogged it running to first or even in the field. He is an incredible hitter also, and that's where you make the money. He worked at it and he got the contract. Having fraudulent gold gloves help too.

LennyDiWilliams
LennyDiWilliams

 if you think watching Cano was a problem, welcome to Philadelphia and the biggest dog of all, good old J-Stroll  (Jimmy Rollins).  He simply doesn't understand how it appears that he never busts it in the field or down the line

Bags
Bags

Cheap shot after he's gone. Lost a lot of respect for Kevin Long.

RD
RD

The Yanks should have been able to fine this chump for not living up to his paycheck.  What a lazy jerk.  A rich lazy jerk but still a jerk.

Jed1
Jed1

Just wait until August when the Mariners are out of it. ..

The_truth_hurts
The_truth_hurts

Pretty sad comment by the Yankees. Like this justifies them not signing a proven superstar like Cano. I guess they thought it would be wiser to spend 150 million on a Japanese pitcher with no MLB experience. Looks like the Yankees are following the Al Davis philosophy nowadays.

DSM
DSM

I am doubtful that the coach criticizing him endears the Yanks to future free agents or to any friends he has on the team

Philip10
Philip10

@mystafugee  did you watch any yankee games last year? do you anything about the lineup they put out there? Name one regular offensive player with the exception of Granderson; who had  a bad year.

Wells and Ichiro are not everyday players. Arad barely played 40 games. Yankee hating is OK; not knowing your facts is another.

Philip10
Philip10

@kdbarbershop  - what is kevin long bitter about? Suggestion ... read the article.

Yankees didn't want a 10 year contract; Cano was there for the taking -- they did not want to be tied to him for 10 years. They improved themselves at 4 positions and lost ground on one.

Philip10
Philip10

@thebigdawg3  When was the last time the yankees had a losing season? wouldn't that have to happen in order to be a loser?

William27
William27

@thebigdawg3 that is a very well informed and detailed analysis, especially coming from a bumblebrain

Philip10
Philip10

@samiam1  He probably shouldn't have answered that question ... but tell me ... did you read the whole article?

GaloofvonDorkmeister
GaloofvonDorkmeister

@Frank14  


Is charging the US Air Force $15 for screwdrivers all that necessary? Looks a bit silly when one can charge $600 and still get paid.


The fact of the matter is that Cano is doing his grossly overpaid job half-a$$ed and those type of people should be fired.


And not only that, his attitude carries over to other players and may adversely affect young developing players.

William27
William27

@Bags most of this was already well known in NY for years

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@Bags  If you READ all of it, he praised Cano for his hard work in MANY areas, told of how much he improved over the years, mentioned how Cano ASKED him, Kevin, to do extra work with him etc...


Kevin gave Cano about 5 props for the negative one...


AND, Kevin said NOTHING we all can't see with our own eyes watching Cano play.


What?  Can't say ANYTHING negative about someone anymore?  Even while praising them 5 to 1 against the negative (truthful) comments you make?

yankee42
yankee42

@Bags Tell us Bags, HOW is it a cheap shot???? Cano was known for being lazy. Long is just telling the truth. Kinda like the movie ""YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH""11

Philip10
Philip10

@The_truth_hurts   they're watching diminishing returns on sabathia, teixeira, and of course Arod, The also got hurt on the giambi deal as well. The only long term contract that worked out was Jeter and that expired years ago, So with 4 out of 5 long term contracts having questionable results - why villify them for not entering into another one? All of the contracts they just signed players to terminate when the player is 37 or younger (except Beltran who will turn 37 in April). Cano's contract goes to age 41. Without taking a default position as "yankee hater", can your really blame the yankees for letting him walk.?

yankee42
yankee42

@The_truth_hurts If Cano is a SUPERSTAR, he is in your eyes,  as he is an above average player but he ain't NO SUPERSTAR. (by a long shot) I,ve been a Yankee fan all my life and I will say, if I had a choice for 2nd basemen between Pedroia and Cano, Perodia would be my choice. Reminds ya all of Charlie Hustle. Cano reminds ya of the Loper. Seattle has him for 10 years, about 4 or 5 years too many.....

train805
train805

Sadly, I agree. It typically gets worse after the big contract. Any wagers on how big a season Hanley has this year? I predict monster season from Hanley.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@AnthonyA @MrArlington  ummmmm... he SAID he had a solution the Yankees COULD have used since they can't obviously use it now because he's no longer a Yankee...