Robinson Cano had a career year in 2009, hitting .320 with 25 homers and 85 RBI and playing Gold Glove caliber defense in the field.
But he also knows the "but" that followed him throughout the season.
"I would say that’s one of the things I need to work on, men on base," Cano said. "Be patient and swing at balls that I can drive and get guys in. I’m an aggressive hitter but with men on base, I need to be more patient and swing at balls that I can drive."
Joe Girardi said some of Cano's struggles last season with RISP could be boiled down to bad luck.
"There was a stretch where he had made about 10 or 11 outs in a row with runners in scoring position and he hit nine bullets," Girardi said. "His at-bats a lot of times were very good with runners in scoring position, I didn’t think he had a lot of luck last year. I really don’t."
Nevertheless, it is an area Cano wants to get better at, as well as playing well enough defensively to win a Gold Glove.
"I would like to win a gold Glove one day," Cano said. "I don’t put that in my mind but I’m not going to lie, anybody would like to have one. We’ll see what happens this year."
Girardi thought it should have been last year, though he didn't mean it as a slight to the Tigers' Placido Polanco, who did win.
"The thing about seeing your players all the time, I had a chance to see what he did on a daily basis. I find it hard to believe anyone played better than he did," Girardi said. "But that’s for voters and I didn’t get to see Polanco every day and I’m sure Jim Leyland would have said the same thing about him. There’s a lot of second basemen, that’s a tough field out there…But I think Robby played second base pretty much as well as you can play it."