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Mets' Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz look forward to healthy, productive 2020

Mets Robinson Cano speaks to the press at

Mets Robinson Cano speaks to the press at the Mets Fanfest at Citi Field on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano were among those striking a happy pose for the cameras on a loading dock at Citi Field. They stood behind a rain-soaked equipment truck bound for spring training.

The two Mets came from Seattle in a package deal in December 2018, then had down years in Queens. At Saturday’s inaugural Mets Fanfest, however, both sounded confident that their second year here will have better results.

The team needs that from them to get where it didn’t go last October — the postseason.

Diaz tied for the second-most saves in major-league history with 57 in 2018, but he flopped as the Mets’ closer after a promising start. He dropped seven of nine decisions, blew seven of 33 save opportunities, posted a 5.59 ERA and served up an MLB-record 15 ninth-inning homers.

The 25-year-old righthander suggests mechanical failure as the cause, and he’s been getting fixed by a Hall of Famer — Pedro Martinez.

“I’ve known Pedro since I got to the big leagues, thanks to Cano’s trainer, who introduced us,” Diaz said via an interpreter. “We remained in contact all offseason. I would send him videos and he would send me videos with feedback.”

New pitching coach Jeremy Hefner also flew to Puerto Rico to help polish his mechanics.

“I’ve worked on my body,” Diaz said. “I’ve worked on my mechanics. I’ve pretty much worked on everything. I’ve put a lot of work into myself to have a good season. I’ve always been confident, but now being able to put in all that work and being able to see the results, I feel excited going into the season . . . I think if we remain healthy, I think all of us are going to have a big year.”

Cano traces his troubles to not remaining healthy. The eight-time All-Star second baseman played only 107 games and had the lowest average (.256) and fewest RBIs (39) of his career. He did three stints on the injured list with left leg injuries.

Yet his second-half slash line of .284/.339/.541 across 42 games was a huge improvement over the first half — .240/.287/.360 across 65 games.

Cano has since turned 37 and has four years left on his contract. He thinks he’s still capable of producing the sort of numbers he did in his suspension-shortened 2018 season, when he had a .303/.374/.471 slash line in 80 games.

“Last year, I got a couple of injuries,” Cano said. “I got hit five times in the hands. That’s not an excuse. But it’s not the same when you have pains or anything like that. I’m the kind of guy that it doesn’t matter what kind of pain I have, I love to play every day . . .

“But I went home and prepared, got my legs stronger to try to prevent what happened last year, and hopefully it doesn’t happen again . . . I just want to go out there and be able to help the team win a championship.”

New York Sports