By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz. – In his earliest days as a Mariner, it quickly became apparent that Kyle Seager was a video-room rat. If he wasn't on the field, in the batting cage or in the training room, chances were you would find Seager pouring over footage of not only his at-bats but those of other left-handed hitters as well.
The player he watched the most? Robinson Cano.
Back then he went to pains to point out that he was not thinking that he would be the next Cano. That was someone he could learn from, however. Why not watch one of the best left-handed hitters in the game?
Now, Seager has much more than a few swings on tape to watch and he plans on taking full advantage of the opportunity to learn from his new teammate.
As one of MLB's best left-handed hitters, Robinson Cano has plenty of wisdom to share with teammates. (Shannon Drayer)
"He is somebody that I always watched film of and I watched how he approached different pitchers. Watched his swing path and everything. It is unbelievable. I am definitely excited about that."
Cano, who aside from his experience in the World Baseball Classic, is in a new role as the veteran in the clubhouse. He welcomes the opportunity to teach and share.
"There's a lot of things I can tell young kids, but at the same time you have got to understand it is not on my hands," said Cano, who is 31 and entering his 10th season. "It is them willing to get help, to ask. If I see something I can tell them, but I am not going to be the guy all the time [saying], 'You have got to do this, you have got to do that.' "
Brad Miller found himself in the same batting practice group with Cano on the first day of full-squad drills, and after one round the two could be seen talking as Cano demonstrated a swing.
"Just being in the same group, trying to get a feel for what he is doing. It was pretty cool because he was pretty helpful just in general," Miller said. "We're just out there, he's just one of the guys and he was talking about what he likes to focus on and just talking hitting. It was very helpful."
Miller said that meeting Cano last month at Mariners FanFest helped break the ice a little bit.
"He really just seems like one of the guys, which is pretty cool," Miller said. "Very willing to share his experience. He told me then, 'Hey, I will be in the cage, so come fine me.' For a guy like me that's pretty cool, and I will try to learn as much as I can from him."
Seager is excited to talk hitting with Cano as well and perhaps more prepared to do so now than he was in his rookie year.
"The more I have learned about what I am trying to accomplish and what hitters in general are trying to accomplish, I think the more questions I have," he said. "It's been real good. I am excited to talk to him and pick his brain a little bit."
Both Miller and Seager were happy to see that like them, Cano is a player that enjoys talking hitting. Both players have proved to be be eager to use whatever resources they have at the major-league level to get better. Perhaps one of the best resources for a left-handed hitter now has a locker in the Mariners' clubhouse.
"It makes it easier on me," Miller said. "Everybody has different styles, different setups, but there are a couple of universal things that everyone has got to do to hit the ball and Seager and him do it pretty consistently. He does a lot of things really well that me and Kyle talk about – mechanics of hitting. He's kind of the poster child of what we are trying to do. It's fun getting to see him right there in person and getting his take on it and seeing what makes him tick."