By Shannon Drayer
NEW YORK – This has the potential to be the coldest game the Mariners have played yet. There could be rain and there will be a wind-chill factor. Welcome home, Robinson!
That, of course, is the story here. Robinson Cano returns to Yankee Stadium for the first time since signing with the Mariners. It was a busy day for Cano on Monday with taping at the MLB Fan Cave for MTV's "Off the Bat" and an appearance on "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon". If you have been stuck under a rock for the last 18 hours, here is the clip of Cano having fun with some of his former fans.
There has been a huge media turnout to cover Cano's return. He held a press conference in front of about 60 reporters and at least 10 cameras from both local and national outlets.
"It's always good to be back and play in front of the fans who have seen me all these years," he said. "I always expect something good but if not, I am still going to love the fans and I want to take this time to say thanks for all these years, patience and being so kind to me."
Cano deflected questions about his contract, his representation and comments from the offseason about feeling disrespected by the Yankees when they didn't up their offer. The press conference lasted about 8 minutes and then he had to leave for a hitters' meeting. Which brings us to ...
Abraham Almonte, 8
Stefen Romero, 9
Robinson Cano, 4
Corey Hart, DH
Justin Smoak, 3
Cole Gillespie, 7
Kyle Seager, 5
Mike Zunino, 2
Willie Bloomquist, 6
Yep. A lot going on here. Shortstop Brad Miller sits for the second straight day but expect to see him back in the lineup regularly. Manager Lloyd McClendon said that he is just giving him a break against a tough lefty on the hill in CC Sabathia. When I asked if we might see this more often, McClendon assured us that he wasn't going with a platoon at short but that he could look to sit Miller against tough lefties from time to time.
Dustin Ackely is sitting as well, starting on the bench for the third time in the last five games. Nothing to look at here as McClendon said, "He's my left fielder."
One other item: with Kyle Seager tearing it up to the tune of a 1.549 OPS and Player of the Week honors for the last week it may be a bit of a surprise to see him hitting seventh Tuesday. Matchup, lefty, etc. I have a feeling that we could see him hitting second against righties some time soon.
• Hisashi Iwakuma threw a bullpen session here in New York earlier Tuesday. All went well. His one concern is he hasn't seen the command he is accustomed to as of yet but says that isn't surprising seeing that he has had just one start. Still, he believes he is ready to pitch if needed. McClendon said Iwakuma "will start somewhere Friday." I would be surprised if that start wasn't in Houston.
• The tarp was on the field for most of pregame Tuesday as a steady drizzle fell. The forecast for Wednesday is even worse and the chatter around the ballpark was it most likely will get rained out. If this is to happen it looks like there will be a double header on Thursday.
• Taijuan Walker and James Paxton have both progressed to playing catch in Seattle and so far everything has gone well.
• As expected, Erasmo Ramirez has been moved up to Triple-A Tacoma. He is still on track to start one of the games in the doubleheader in Oakland.