Robinson Cano is the new face (and beard) of the Mariners
PEORIA, Ariz. -- In his first spring training news conference with his new team, Robinson Cano vowed to make a change from his days with the Yankees.
It had more to do with a razor than what could be considered cutting remarks from a former confidant, but nonetheless the 31-year-old is ready to embrace the Mariner way.
"Now I know I don't have to shave every two days," Cano said, rubbing his manicured facial hair. "I am going to keep that. Let's see how good I do this year with this.
"[When] I was [in New York] it wasn't going through my mind because I knew the rules coming up from the minors. Now, I am going to try something different. It's not [David] Ortiz. This is the Robbie Cano, right here."
Yes, Cano was front and center as the Seattle Mariners' $240-million second baseman as he went about his first day in camp like he did the previous nine with the Yankees, but the reality hit Tuesday.
"I am not going to lie, I just realized today," he said. "You know you signed with Seattle [back in December], but until you are the field and see your teammates [it's not real]. You don't see those same faces you used to watch for 13 years [including the minors].
"I chose here and I am excited for the season to start."
He didn't quite get away from the Yankees completely after hitting coach Kevin Long said the organization addressed Cano about hustling more often on routine outs on several occasions.
Cano wouldn't talk about Long's comments, but his new manager, Lloyd McClendon, attempted to put an end to it. He isn't worried in the least about Cano and his jogs down to first base.
"My concern is with Robinson Cano in a Seattle Mariners uniform and what he does moving forward," McClendon said. "I don't [care] what he did with the Yankees."
What the Mariners are getting is the game's elite second baseman, who hit .314 with 27 home runs and 107 RBIs last season.
While the M's front office would love to see those types of numbers, Cano was brought over just as much to be a mentor to a young core of players still finding their way.
Seattle expects him to be the Derek Jeter centerpiece for the franchise that the rest of the organization follows.
"I want to share with the young guys all the things I learned in New York," Cano said. "All the good experience I have and what it takes to win to make it to playoffs and what it takes to win a championship."
The Mariners believe they are heading in that direction and so does Cano. It's one of the reasons Seattle appealed to him. He's ready to be the leading man, but he will pick and choose when he gives his advice or takes a player to task.
"This is a young team, but at the same time it's not in my hands," he said. "They have to be willing to get help. I am not going to be the guy that all the time says, 'You have to do this' or 'You have to do that.' You got to let them do their thing. We have good young talent here.
"I like to lead by example better because if you talk too much, they are not going to listen. I like to go out and play every day and that's the biggest thing you can show the kids. How hard you work to play 162 games."