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February 18, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Lloyd McClendon: “We don’t have to take a back seat to anybody, that includes the New York Yankees”

Lloyd McClendon hasn’t lost the fire. A tough kid from a tougher neighborhood in Gary, Indiana, he isn’t going to back down from anyone or anything. It’s that attitude that got him to the big leagues and kept him there.

McClendon hopes that attitude will carry over to the 2014 Seattle Mariners. On Tuesday, he gave them a little bit of an example.

Following the first full squad workout that featured Robinson Cano’s much anticipated debut in a Mariners uniform, McClendon met with the media (video above).

Of course, he was asked about the comments made by Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long that were very critical of Cano’s effort when it came to running to first base.

McClendon let his feelings known to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick before the workout this morning. They weren’t tempered by a work out.

“I made my comments this morning,” he said. “This is probably the last time I will speak on this. I was very disappointed. I’ve been in this game a long time, particularly at the major league level. And one thing I was taught was: “You worry about your players and getting them ready and not players on other teams. I’m disappointed, surprised. Like I said earlier, I didn’t know he was the spokesman for the New York Yankees. It is that it is.

My concern is Robinson Cano in a Seattle Mariners uniform and what he does moving forward. I don’t give a damn what he did for the Yankees. I have no concern whatsoever. We had a great talk this morning. He’s looking forward to being very productive in a Seattle Mariners uniform and being a very good teammate.  That’s what’s important as you move forward.”

McClendon showed his players that he has their backs when it comes stuff like this.

“One of the messages I’m trying to send to my players is we don’t have to take a back seat to anybody, that includes the New York Yankees or anybody else,” he said. “We’re the Seattle Mariners. My concern is my players and the family atmosphere we build here. And any time anybody attacks one of my players, then I’m going to defend them. If you don’t like it, tough (expletive).”

So what does he expect from Cano or any of his players in that regard?

“My talk with Robbie was real simple,” he said. “I expect all my players, including Robinson, to give me a fair effort down the line. I’m not too far removed from playing. I’m old but not that far. I can remember the days when I hit a pop up and I’m pissed off and you don’t run to first. Is that dogging it? I don’t think so. There’s a human element that comes with this game. You know you roll over and hit a ground ball to second base, your head drops and you are a little disappointed.

In the big scheme of things, would I rather have a guy out  there for 160 games, hitting .300 and driving in over 100, I will take that.  Don’t get me wrong, my players understand I expect a good fair effort every time out, but my concern is to make sure I keep my players on the field.

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