Sportress of Blogitude

Robinson Cano insists he’s not pressing, Mariners hitting coach disagrees

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Robinson Cano struggled out of the gates this season and now that more than a quarter of the season is in the books, the continued slump the Seattle Mariners second baseman is suffering through has become more than a bit disconcerting.

Given Cano signed a 10-year megadeal with the Mariners to the tune of $240 million in December of 2013, one reasonable theory is that he’s pressing at the plate to produce at a level that his enormous salary merits, something he recently denied while admitting it’s been frustrating.

“It doesn’t feel good,” said Cano. “I wouldn’t say I’m pressing but as a player you want to get a hit every single at-bat.”

Mariners hitting coach Howard Johnson, however, believes the slugger pressing at the plate is exactly the source of Cano’s struggles.

“He’s a proud guy and when things got off a little slow for him, it’s easy to press, even out here in Seattle,” Johnson said before Monday’s 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees, Cano’s former team.

Given Seattle’s opponent on Monday, it merits noting that Cano enjoyed a .309 average and averaged 23 home runs in nine seasons with the Yankees. This season, on the other hand, Cano is batting .246 with a paltry two home runs, putting him on a pace well below the superstar-making numbers he put up in the Bronx.

“I think when you are used to hitting the ball out of the ballpark — guys want to hit the ball out, they got numbers and stuff, people expect that and the human-nature side,” Johnson observed. “You start to try to go for that as opposed to doing the things you did when you were successful: That’s be a good hitter first and home runs will come later.”

Over his career, Cano’s lowest batting averages month-wise come in March, April (.294/.337/.472) and May (.284/.324/.423) before heating up in summer months, where he has posted a .300-plus batting average in each of those months during his career, per Baseball Reference. His power numbers have been relatively consistent when viewed on a month-by-month basis as well.

While that may be viewed as a positive sign, a .246 average this season is well below his sub-par springtime batting averages.

Despite the struggles, Cano stressed he won’t fret over the underwhelming start.

“I’m not going to overthink this,” he said.

(photo credit: Newsday)