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Mets befuddled by Robinson Cano's home/road splits

New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano heads

New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano heads to the dugout after the top of the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Sunday, June 16, 2019. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

MIAMI — Robinson Cano’s season, the worst of his career so far, has a new spin from the Mets: Although he has been awful on the road, he has been terrific at home.

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway both noted that stark trend in separate news conferences Friday, and Callaway mentioned it again Saturday while discussing Cano batting fifth for a second day in a row, once against a lefthander and once against a righthander.

At Citi Field this year, Cano is hitting .318 with a .388 OBP and .398 slugging percentage — solid numbers but still below his overall production in recent years. On the road, Cano was slashing .196/.226/.335 entering play Saturday.

Callaway said Cano has been “great” at getting why he has lost, for now, his No. 3 spot in the order. He responded on the field Saturday by launching a go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth, his first homer since June 17 and fifth on the season.

“He understands that on the road he hasn’t performed the way you would expect,” Callaway said. “He’s hitting under .200 on the road, .318 at home or whatever it is. So he always understands. Obviously we have conversations with him or whatever. But he just wants to win. He’ll play and bat wherever you want him to.”

Last year, playing for Seattle, Cano was much better on the road than at home. Overall in his 15-year major-league career, he doesn’t have significant home/road splits.

Cano’s change this year — massive Citi success, rough road trips — has left the Mets befuddled.

“I’ve talked to him about it. We don’t know,” Callaway said. “You dig into the routine, what’s different. Those kinds of things are so hard to identify from year to year. It’ll be one way this year or the next year. [Hitting coach Chili Davis] was talking about his home/road splits one year when he hit 21 homers on the road and nine at home or vice versa, and he didn’t know why. It’s like a never-ending search for this consistency.”

Extra bases

Steven Matz’s stint in the bullpen is over, as expected. He threw a simulated game Friday in Miami and will return to the rotation Wednesday in Minnesota, Callaway said. In two relief appearances — spurred mostly by the Mets not needing a fifth starter last week — Matz allowed three hits in one inning … The Mets’ experimentation with Amed Rosario in centerfield is getting a bit more real. The shortstop has been doing very basic, introductory work in the outfield with quality-control coach Luis Rojas. If Rosario plays in center at all this year, it won’t come for at least several weeks.

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