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Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long criticized for Cano comments

Robinson Cano, center, is helped into his new

Robinson Cano, center, is helped into his new jersey by manager Lloyd McClendon, right, and general manager Jack Zduriencik, left, after being introduced as the newest member of the Seattle Mariners. (Dec. 12, 2013) Credit: AP

New Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is sticking up for his $240 million man.

Seattle's skipper criticized Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long for opinions he expressed about Robinson Cano not always hustling to first base on ground balls. Cano was once one of Long’s prized pupils, but the second baseman left the Bronx for Seattle – and a megadeal – in December.

“Last time I checked, I didn’t know that Kevin Long was the spokesman for the New York Yankees,” McClendon said in an interview with “That was a little surprising. I was a little [expletive] off, and I’m sure Joe [Girardi] feels the same way. He’s concerned with his team and what they’re doing, not what the Seattle Mariners players are doing.

“I’m a little surprised that Kevin Long is the spokesman for the New York Yankees. I wonder if he had any problems with Robbie when he wrote that book proclaiming himself as the guru of hitting.”

Long’s comments came in a Daily News article published Sunday. While largely complimentary of Cano’s improvement into an All-Star hitter and consistent MVP candidate, Long repeated a familiar refrain among Cano’s critics: That the second baseman would sometimes loaf it to first base.

“If somebody told me I was a dog, I’d have to fix that,” Long said. “When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault.”

Now Long is the one taking heat.


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