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April 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Tuesday’s pregame notes, links and line-ups vs. the Yankees

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Updated 5:47 … Steinbrenner time

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Note: Here’s some shaky video 

Robinson Cano’s press conference lasted about 10 minutes. It was packed with reporters, TV cameras,  photographers and Yankee staffers. I’m guessing about 100 people were in there.

“I was looking forward to it,” he said. “Like I said, it was more being back in the city where I grew up and spent nine years and won a world series, being able to see teammates and guys I played with a long time. It’s always good to be back and play in front of the New York crowd and the fans that saw me play for so many years.”

What does he expect to hear from fans?

“One thing that I will understand about the fans. I know I’m not here anymore and now I’m with the Mariners. I know it’s not the same thing as when you aren’t with the home team crowd. That’s something that was always special in New York. I loved the fans. I want to take this time to say thank for all those years, their patiences and being so kind to me.”

From there, the questions about Jay-Z, his contract and his comments about the Yankees not showing him respect became prevalent.

“We are here to talk about baseball not about the guy who represents myself,” he said. “If you want any questions about looking forward to tonight, but I don’t want to talk about the past. I want to leave those things behind me, just move on and play baseball.”

Cano was asked about how the Yankees rebuilt the team and spent quite a bit of money for Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka.

“One thing to understand, this is a business,” he said. “I can’t control the Yankees. I can only control myself. They made a decision. And we’re both happy. I’m happy where I’m at right now. I’m happy to be a Mariner.”

Cano was asked about comparing his playing experience in Seattle to New York.

“It’s different,” he said. “The Yankees are a team that’s won a lot of championships and have fans all over the place. It’s always crowded. I can’t tell you that much about Seattle. We had just two homestands there. I can tell you at the end of the year how it was different. Right now, I can tell you one thing, I’m happy there with the way they’ve embraced me – the fans, the organization, my teammates.”

Cano was asked about his day off where he did the skit for the Fallon Show and went to the MLB fan cave and did other things around the city.

“That was a lot of fun,” he said. “I had fun with it. I had a great experience. Like I said earlier, I know I’m not a Yankee anymore and I have to understand the fans. They aren’t going to cheer for you here. They are going to boo you because you are on the opposite team. The last the thing they want to see is for you to come here and do well. I have to understand that. I had a lot of fun when they saw me come out from behind there and their reactions. I still got a lot of love for these fans and respect.”

Cano said he wouldn’t have any added motivation or anger tonight.

“I’m going to play the game like I was facing any other team,” he said. “I’m going to play the game to win and go out there and do my job.”

Will there be nerves?

“I’m not nervous at all,” he said. “I was looking forward to it, not about people make a big deal, ‘Oh, he’s coming back,’ or ‘he might be angry or might be mad.’ I’m just happy to be back and see guys I played with a long time and guys that were always so kind and nice to me. Being able to say, hi, to them and play in front of the New York crowd with the way they treated me when I was here.”

McClendon wasn’t too worried about how Cano will handle the circus.

“Robbie is a nine year veteran and he grew up in New York,” McClendon said. “Need I say more? I’m sure he knows how to handle himself.”

Updated 5:07 Jeter time

McClendon was asked about the line-up and the different look.

“It just gives us pretty good balance,” McClendon said. “I like to balance it with left-right as much as I can. As far as Willie playing at short, I did not want to put Miller back in the line-up against CC. Giving him another day will not hurt as well.”

McClendon said that he may sit Miller against certain left-handed starters.

“I will probably try and protect him as much as I can,” McClendon said. “Now having said that, don’t expect a platoon situation. But if there are some really nasty lefties out there like CC, you could probably see me giving me a breather.”

And Ackley?

“I’m just giving Ack a breather also against a tough lefty,” McClendon said. “He’s still my left fielder and he’ll play a lot, just not today.”

Hisashi Iwakuma is with the team and threw a bullpen session today. Will he pitch Friday?

“He’ll pitch somewhere on Friday,” McClendon said chuckling. “I’m not sure where yet.”

Iwakuma doesn’t know where it will be either. All signs point to him starting Friday night in Houston. But McClendon is ready to list him as the starter.

“I’m prepared to go on Friday, but they haven’t told me anything yet,” he said.

Iwakuma said the command of his pitches wasn’t quite there yet. But that was to be expected.

“It was okay, so-so,” he said. “Not 100 percent yet. It was the first game in a long time. I’m trying to get the feel back. I need some more time, but it’s going to be there. It’s been getting better every time.”

*** Taijuan Walker played catch on Monday and everything went fine

*** James Paxton also continued to play catch and felt fine. He’s experienced no setbacks.

*** Logan Morrison is still feeling discomfort in the hamstring. So the hope of him going out on a rehab assignment has been tempered. “He’s not at full bore as far as running is concerned,” McClendon said.

From earlier … 

It’s gray and cold and windy like the Puget Sound was last week. Of course, it’s gorgeous there the next few days when we are gone. Forecast for today isn’t too bad, but tomorrow rain will be an issue.

Still waiting on the Yankees line-up. So feel free to chew on the one above for a while. I’m certain there will be much to discuss. Almonte is back leading off. Willie Ballgame is playing and Ackley is out again with lefty CC Sabathia on the mound.

With right-handers the next few days … I assue Ackley and Miller and Saunders will be back in there.

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A few of the writers were having adult beverages at Foley’s Pub last night and watching some baseball and hockey. Inevitably, our discussions turned to the Mariners. We are as perplexed as most fans about Lloyd McClendon’s willingness to use Almonte at the top of the order, despite his struggles.

The question of why McClendon continues to use Almonte at the top of the order has been asked so often. Probably over 100 times since spring training. The problem isn’t that the questions are being asked, it’s that people don’t like McClendon’s answers, which can be summed up into three basic ideas:  “Because that’s where I put him and I’m the manager. Because I believe in him. Because I think he will figure it out.”

It’s what he believes. Now that could change. I do think that this team’s lineup is going to change daily. Why? Because with the exception of Cano and Seager there isn’t established guys. The idea of having a set every day line-up just isn’t feasible or logical. Now how McClendon uses those pieces and in what match-ups can be debated. 


Kyle Seager was on ESPN 710 yesterday.

Here’s my hit from earlier on Mitch in the Morning

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Bovada is running prop best for Cano for this series in New York.

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