Let the ‘he’s in good shape’ talk begin

Torre's new book starting an uproar
Old Stadium sticking around until ’10

It seems like every year the big stories at the beginning of Spring Training are about how Player X showed up looking trimmer than last year. Player Y looks to be in great shape. We saw that plenty of that last year, and I wouldn’t expect any different this year as we head into February. Up first this year: Robinson Cano. Kat O’Brien reports that he looks “very trim,” though we know that has little to do with how well he’ll perform.

The picture to the right is of Cano at a recent WBC workout for the Dominican team. It’s just one picture so it’s tough to tell if there’s any difference. According to O’Brien, Cano finished the year at 213 and now weights 208 (though she also notes that he probably played most of the year weighing more than 213). While it’s good to know that he did work out this off-season, it really means nothing in regards to his performance on the field. He’s put himself in a better position to succeed, no doubt, but he still has to prove it with the bat. It’s going to be tough to forget his slow starts the past two years.

Thankfully, Cano knows what’s at stake:

“I’ve just been working on my new stance,” Cano said, “just getting ready mentally and physically. … I know that I have to start in April, not in May or June.”

Or March, for that matter. Cano had a monster spring in 2008, hitting .446/.471/.646 in his 65 at bats. Even if he does tear it up again this March, we’ll be looking for how he transitions to April. Adding his bat early on could help the Yankees avoid the slow starts they’ve experienced the past two years.

email
Torre's new book starting an uproar
Old Stadium sticking around until ’10
  • John

    I guess what matters is that he’s mentally ready (supposedly)

    Remember in 07, it was said A-rod was in great shape, losing about 6% body fat and he’s prepared for everything (like the media) mentally…I’m pretty sure you know how the season then went for him.

    I hope Cano’s better fitness has a similar effect on him.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      .310/.350/.450 with 20+ HRs this year. Hitting in the 5 hole by June.

      • Jay CT… Ben Sheets biggest fan

        Hopefully the WBC will help him get into mid season form a bit earlier. Lots of guys begin slow (like our new first baseman), but slow and July are two different things. We really need Cano to show what he truly is this season. I really think this is a “make or break” year for him. I love Cano, so I am pulling for him.

        • Mike Pop

          I don’t know how to link pics from noMaas but I found that pic so funny where they had Cano with Dr. Kevorkian and it said please do us a favor.

          I do think Cano will have a big season though. He knows what has happened to his boy Melky and I doubt he wants that to happen to him.

          • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

            I love NoMaas.

            • Jay CT… Ben Sheets biggest fan

              NoMass is fricken fantasticly funny

    • http://pinstripealley.com Edwantsacracker

      Last year the big story was Jason Giambi coming to camp in shape. That worked out well. He played more games at 1B since his Oakland days.

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    He’s had good Aprils in the past as well, .316/.341 in 06 and in .270/.320 07.

    So the cold weather stuff doesn’t wash.

  • Kw

    I think the weight portion is nice, but it doesn’t really tell much of a picture. I think body fat percentage, or what kind of workouts he was doing really would show how much of a change he brought on. If I recall correctly, Arod one year bulked up for the season and that actually led to his “bat speed slowing” (not that I know for sure, but I think that was what the consensus was). The next year he leaned down a lot while still maintaining good athletic shape and he had a monstrous year. Who knows?

    • John

      assuming he really is working out a lot and given he’s only lost 5 lbs, it means he added some muscle and lost a lot of body fat.

  • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

    Melky took looks leaner.
    Remember Bruney last year? I barely noticed him in spring training he lost so much weight

    • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

      wow, Melky looks leaner… I don’t even know what i meant to say that involved the word “took”

    • John

      yea, and I say thats why Bruney figured it out last year…he’s been working harder

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      I remember that!

    • The Evil Empire

      I think that’s Edward Ramirez behind Cano, no?

      • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

        I hope he hasn’t lost any weight.

        • http://incumbentgm.wordpress.com The Third Yip-Yip

          The team needs to start taking him to McDonald’s after games.

          • Mike Pop

            Just don’t bring CC.

            • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

              Or Albaladejo.

              • Mike Pop

                CC will probably eat #’s 1-5 and then go throw a complete game shutout.

  • The Evil Empire

    Hey joe, where can i get more photos of the Dominican team’s practice? A link would be nice

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      That’s all I’ve got. If I had more I’d post it.

  • Lanny

    Fat Pete Abe is already on top of the he’s in good shape thing.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Fat Pete Abe? Is that really necessary?

      • La Costco Nostra

        I know, right?

        It’s redundant.

        • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

          Come on. Pete A has always been good to this site.

          • Jay CT… Ben Sheets biggest fan

            I realize that I was not here when you started, but I have been on this site since November of ’07, and Pete has been pretty good overall with baseball insight.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

            Seriously.

            • steve (different one)

              i agree that the shots at his weight are unecessary, but let’s not pretend like Abraham is above reproach.

              the dude clearly has an agenda he tries to push at times, and while a very good reporter, he can be a total douche about certain things.

  • Zack

    Like it was stated, he hit “.446/.471/.646 ” in Spring Training, his weight had nothing to do with his slow start. he got in a funk and couldnt break out

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      “Like it was stated, he hit “.446/.471/.646 ” in Spring Training, his weight had nothing to do with his slow start. He got funky with Melky at every night club in town and couldn’t wake up”

      Fixed.

    • A.D.

      Yeah, more likely that working on his batting all winter and changing his stance will make it more repeatable.

  • Mike Pop

    Man, no football blows. Bring on the baseball!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Tell me about it. It’s even worse once baseball ends and you realize … holy shit, what am I going to do with myself every night?

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        … holy shit, what am I going to do with myself every night?

        http://tinyurl.com/5swql6

      • Mike Pop

        Ya well ya know, I find ways to pass the time. :(

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          So do I, but it’s just not the same.

          • Mike Pop

            Def man, life without baseball and football sucks. Nothing to watch really for a guy like me. Just hang around till shows like Family Guy and South Park come on. Daily Show and Colbert..etc

      • A.D.

        And you realize how much crap there is on TV… how many reality dance shows can they make??

  • Mike Pop

    Where is Cano going to be hitting? 7 or 8?

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      5th by June 1st.

      Or so the Yankees hope.

      • John

        if he hits lower, it means posada and matsui and nady/swish have been doing well…assuming Cano hits well, it helps our bottom part of the lineup a LOT

  • Drew

    Edwar also looks trim in that picture. lol

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    What does A-Rod say in response to the Torre book when he shows up at ST?

    Probably something like “I have no comment, I always enjoyed playing for Mr Torre and I’ll just leave it at that.”

    When you’re Joe Torre, and you put A-Rod in the position of being the classy one, you have to know that you’ve completely screwed the pooch.

    • Mike Pop

      He will say something like, well there is “no more glory for Mr. Torre” is his response to “A-Fraud”.

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      When has ARod ever not been “the classy one”? In fact, that’s one of the things his critics lambaste him for, the notion that he always gives the answers that offer no emotion or anything but a cliche.

      • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

        1-“HA!”

        2-The ball slap at 1B vs the Red Sox

        3-The wife with the “Fuck You” shirt on in the stands

        4-Dating the 50+ Madonna

        . . . should I keep going?

        • UWS

          Why are people so obsessed with who ARod dates? Seriously, who gives a flying fuck?

          • John

            exactly…#1 (maybe) and #2 are the only ones that count

        • Mike Pop

          Keep going, I want to see more.

          • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

            5-The shirtless Central Park spread

            6-The Toronto strip club dancer

            7-Reports of him at illegal after hours gambling clubs

            8-Reports of him at Swinger’s clubs

            • Mike Pop

              Do you hate A-Rod though?

              • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

                No, not at all. He helps us win games and one of these days he’ll have a big post season. But he has generated plenty of controversy in his time here, no doubt.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

                  I think that’s one of the best ways you can put it.

                • John

                  being the best player in New York will do that…especially when you have high expectations, make a lot of money, and arrived with a already sort of tarnished reputation.

            • John

              those may or may not matter and besides, those are his personal things that should not matter.

              #5 was him showing he’s gotten in shape to the Yanks fans

              You can Jeter unclassy for not sticking up for his teammates, and dating ALL of those women for some tail only and then leaving them.

              • UWS

                I, for one, enjoyed #5. He should do it more often ;)

                • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

                  That’s almost as good as the pix we have of you and Rebecca kissing at the stadium.

                  Oh wait, that hasn’t happened YET. Never mind.

        • Nady Nation

          Having his agent announce his opting out to the world in the middle of the championship-clinching game for the Yanks’ biggest rival…

          • John

            hey thats good for us…take away the spotlight from those damn sawx ;)

          • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

            Ooooh Thanks!

            Forgot that one, that’s a biggie.

          • A.D.

            I think Jamal’s original point is in interviews A-Rod generally very classy in interviews

            • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

              There we go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

    I was just looking on ESPN at some stats and came across the following for 2008:

    Slugging % with NONE on base
    1. ARod .679
    2. Pujols .665

    Slugging % with RUNNER(s) on base
    1. Youkilis .694
    2. Manny .648
    96. ARod .476

    • John

      yea that was 2008, everyone has bad years as RISP changes from year to year. I can also compare 2007 to everyone else…

      • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

        It’s still odd. And it’s not RISP it’s Runners On which counts only 1 man on 1st as well.

    • Bonos

      That’s what having Giambi batting behind you will do to your stats. A Rod always wants to be the man even when he gets nothing to hit. It’s the ego and talent of the man.

    • A.D.

      And A-Rod slugged .719 with men on in ’07. Shit happen. He cannot make the guys get on in front of him

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

    Here’s another interesting one:

    Of the top 10 single-season leaders in strikeouts for hitter’s, only 2 are from a decade other than the 2000’s…(and it’s the same player)

    1. Mark Reynolds (24) 204 2008
    2. Ryan Howard* (27) 199 2007
    Ryan Howard* (28) 199 2008
    4. Jack Cust* (29) 197 2008
    5. Adam Dunn* (24) 195 2004
    6. Adam Dunn* (26) 194 2006
    7. Bobby Bonds (24) 189 1970
    8. Jose Hernandez (32) 188 2002
    9. Bobby Bonds (23) 187 1969
    Preston Wilson (25) 187 2000

  • New Mexico Mike

    Cano’s batting success will depend on his ability to handle outside pitches on and slightly off the plate. If I have one image of Cano batting last season, it’s him flipping his bat in disgust after hitting a weak pop up to the left side of the infield. If he can drive those pitches through the 5.5 hole, as he did in 2006/2007, then he should return to or improve on his 2006/2007 offensive performances. Closing his stance and reducing extraneous movement in the batter’s box–as encouraged by Kevin Long–seems the correct fix. Barring injury, I expect a big offensive big year from Cano, unless he always bats with the bases loaded ;-).

  • emac2@msn.com

    5 Lbs???

    I can gain or lose that in a few days.

    If losing 5 pounds over a full summer of exercise is an example of a renewed effort this guy must have been a real joke.

    • steve (different one)

      useless comment.

      he could have replaced fat with muscle, come in at a similar weight, but look completely different.

  • Craig

    Cano takes a while to get acclimated to the cold NY weather each spring. That is my theory.