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Cano on Rivera’s criticism: Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, his opinion, man

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Robinson Cano has been asked to react to critical comments made by former New York Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera in a new book in which the retired New York Yankees closer criticizes the Seattle Mariners second baseman.

In his new book, “The Closer: My Story,” (not to be confused with Kyra Sedgwick’s autobiography of the same name), Rivera puts Cano on blast, claiming that the former Yankee lacks the drive and desire to become a truly great baseball player.

The relevant passage from the book (via Eye on Baseball):

In his new autobiography, “The Closer,” Rivera writes about how much affection he has for his former teammate, but adds, “This guy has so much talent I don’t know where to start… There is no doubt that he is a Hall-of-Fame caliber (player). It’s just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there. I don’t think Robby burns to be the best… You don’t see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players.”

As for his favorite second baseman, Rivera says Red Sox Dustin Pedroia is “at the top of the list” of players he admires, adding: “Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for twenty-seven outs. It’s a special thing to see.”

He later writes, “If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman.”

Ouch. Talk about adding insult to injury … or whatever. To not only delicately call out Cano, Rivera goes on to state that he would prefer the Boston Red Sox second baseman over his ex-teammate.

But Cano demonstrated a ton of class when asked about Rivera’s critique, essentially deflecting the criticism while refusing to ignite a war of words (via the News Tribune):

“I’m not going to comment too far on this,” Cano said. “If that’s how Mariano feels, I respect that. I’m always going to have respect for him. I spent nine years with him.

“For me, he’s always going to be the best closer. That’s how I feel.”

Cano declined to comment when asked whether he was surprised and/or stung by Rivera’s comments.

“Everybody has a different opinion,” he said. “You’ve got to respect everyone. If that’s his opinion, I have to respect his opinion. I don’t have any other comment. I’m not going to go too far with this.

Okay, so the headline was a bit misleading. But Cano does say that it is Rivera’s opinion and Rivera’s opinion only. So, uh, yeah, well, you know…

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