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May 6, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Tuesday’s pregame notes and line-ups vs. the A’s — Robinson Cano comments on Rivera’s book

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James Jones will be making his first major league start of his young career tonight. Jones is starting in center field and batting second. Michael Saunders remains atop the batting order and will play right field. The line-up is the line-up … that’s my deep thought on it.

“I like the speed at the top of the order,” McClendon said of Jones.

He plans on keeping Saunders at the lead-off spot.

“I don’t like messing with success,” McClendon said. “He’s been doing great and we’ve been doing great. It’s hard to change that.”

McClendon was asked about moving Seager back to No. 2 (a place he wanted him to bat) vs. keeping him down in the order where he’s had success.

“Keep him right where he is,” McClendon said.

Because he’s having success batting lower in the order?

“Yes,” he said.

Felix Hernandez will start the first game of the doubleheader tomorrow. McClendon wouldn’t announce who will start game No. 2, but Erasmo Ramirez was in the clubhouse. So there is that.

Obviously, the stuff surrounding Mariano Rivera’s new book and what was written about Robinson Cano was the topic du jour – yeah, that’s French. I can’t speak multiple languages.

Manager Lloyd McClendon saw the comments this morning from Rivera. His reaction?

“I was surprised,” McClendon said. “But other than that I didn’t really have any other reaction.”

McClendon admitted to thinking about the situation knowing he would be asked about it.

“Here’s my answer to that: I’m extremely proud, I’m humbled and I feel blessed to be able to manage a player of Robinson Cano’s character and his ability to play the game of baseball. He’s a Seattle Mariner. And I’m proud to have him,” he said.

McClendon was philosophical about the idea of Cano’s drive to be great.

“One thing I know about human nature is that I don’t know what Robby Cano is feeling inside, just like you don’t know what I’m feeling inside,” he said. “It’s impossible to me for me to justify that or answer that. All I can tell you is check the book. He plays 160 or 162 games a year. I think that’s pretty good passion.”

McClendon was asked about the idea of Cano making the game look so easy and how that affects his perception?

“The last nine years he’s been the best second baseman in baseball – offensively and defensively,” McClendon said. “The awards and the numbers back it up. ¬†You want to see a guy with passion? I think when you play 162 games a year and you don’t want come out of the line-up, I think you have some pretty good passion for the game of baseball.”

McClendon isn’t going to say anything to Cano about this latest issue. He is hands off that way.

“Robby has been around a long time,” McClendon said. “I don’t think he needs me to hold his hand on that.”

We talked to Cano after talking with McClendon. He knew we were going to ask him about it. He was very careful in what he said.

“Everybody has a different opinion,” he said. “You have to respect everyone. That’s his opinion and I have to respect his opinion.”

Did the comment sting?

“I don’t have a comment,” he said. “I don’t want to go too far on this. That’s the only thing I can say. That’s his opinion and I’m going to respect his opinion.”

Was he surprised?

“I don’t have no comment on this,” he said. “I hope you guys understand. My focus is this team. I’m here. We’re winning. That’s about it. I was over there already. Now I’m here. Now I’m focused on my team. I don’t want to be a distraction for my teammates. I’m just looking forward to tonight’s game.”

When told that his manager said playing 160 games every year is a sign of his passion, Cano smiled a little.

“Everybody knows that I play 160 games,” he said. “I’m not going to comment too far on this. That’s how Mariano feels then I’m going to respect that. I have respect for him. I spent nine years with him. For me, he’s always going to be the greatest closer. That’s how I feel.”


Here’s the official game notes …

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