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Robinson Cano struggling at plate as he enters series against Yankees

The Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano hits a sacrifice

The Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano hits a sacrifice fly to score Dustin Ackley in the fifth inning of a game against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, May 31, 2015, in Seattle. Credit: AP / Ted S. Warren

SEATTLE - Before the Mariners played the Blue Jays on May 24 in Toronto, manager Lloyd McClendon had a feeling about struggling second baseman Robinson Cano.

"I'm sure he's frustrated. He's probably a little embarrassed," McClendon told reporters. "The fact is he's going to hit. He hasn't got the results here, but I see better position at the plate, I see his hands in a better position. I wouldn't be surprised if he went out and got three hits today. He's real close. He's going to hit."

Cano, however, went 0-for-4 that day, the start of a seven-day stretch that prolonged one of the worst starts to a season the 32-year-old has ever had.

The former Yankee brought a .240/.286/.360 slash line since the comments by McClendon and an overall .251/.295/.344 slash line into Monday night's game -- in which he went 0-for-4 in Seattle's 7-2 loss to the Yankees. Cano, who has 16 RBIs, did homer Saturday, breaking a drought that dated to April 14. That raised his total to two.

"There's a lot left of the season," he said before Monday night's game. "You just have to stay positive and keep working hard."

Unprompted, Cano, who signed a 10-year, $240-million contract with Seattle before the 2014 season, mentioned that he's been in this situation before: 2008 with the Yankees. That, he said, was "even worse" than what he's going through now.

Indeed, two months into that season, Cano had a .219/.269/.328 slash line, though his homer and RBI totals were a bit better at four and 19. "It doesn't feel good, but you want to go out there every single day and help the team win games," he said. "This is not a team that is going to put me down [bench him]. Just go game by game and do my best . . . There's a lot of balls I'm hitting hard but just right at guys. There are things you can't control in this game."

Joe Girardi, Cano's manager from 2008-13, took no comfort in the slow start. "Robbie Cano is a guy that can hit any pitch," he said. "I don't really take much out of it [the numbers]. I just don't want him to get hot against us. That's all I care about."

Unspoken, of course, is that as bad as Cano's numbers are, the Yankees would happily take that kind of production from their second baseman. Stephen Drew, back in the lineup after a two-day benching, did have five homers and 15 RBIs entering Monday night, but he also had a .157/.225/.301 slash line (although that was slightly better than the .150/.219/.271 he managed as a Yankee in 2014).

Cano said he takes no satisfaction in the Yankees' inability to replace his production. "I'm not going to lie . . . but that's something I don't really care about," he said. "I'm just here to help this team win and not just focus on somebody else."

He did say he's kept up with the year Alex Rodriguez is having. "Yeah, I text him once in a while," he said. "I'm happy for him. He's been criticized a lot. I'm happy to see him, the way he's doing right now. He really helped me out when I came over as a young kid."

As for his choice to leave, there's been no looking back. "I will never regret my decision," he said. "The way they've treated me is amazing. Not only the team [but] the fans, the city."

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