SAN DIEGO -- When Robinson Canó made his big league debut with the Yankees in 2005, one of his teammates was a 36-year-old pitcher named Paul Quantrill. Mostly, Cano remembers a quiet, focused teammate toiling in New York’s bullpen. The two played together only briefly, before Quantrill went to San Diego in an early July trade with the Padres.
Cano thought about that Tuesday as he prepared to take his hacks against Paul Quantrill’s son, Cal, a rookie pitcher for the Padres. Fourteen years after collecting his first hit, Cano doubled off the younger Quantrill for the 2,500th knock of his career, sparking a 4-for-5 night in the Mets’ 7-6 win over the Padres.
In so doing, Cano became the 101st Major League player to log 2,500 hits, joining Albert Pujols (3,106) and Miguel Cabrera (2,712) as the only active players above that threshold. Cano also became the sixth Dominican-born hitter to reach 2,500.
“It means a lot,” Cano said. “You look back, and it’s something that you dream about as a kid, to be able to play in the big leagues and be successful. To be able to accomplish that, it’s good.”
For Cano, who collected his 2,499th hit last Thursday, the milestone was nearly a week in the making. Once he reached that plateau, the floodgates opened. Cano also doubled off Quantrill in the third inning, singled in the fifth and legged out an infield single in the ninth, scoring on Pete Alonso’s go-ahead homer. He is now 10 hits shy of cracking the top 100 in Major League history.
Cano is also 497 hits short of 3,000, one of baseball’s most hallowed numbers. At 36 years old and under contract through 2023, Cano has as strong a chance at reaching 3,000 as anyone in baseball, though he also knows production will become increasingly difficult with each passing year.
“I don’t have my head on 3,000,” Cano said. “Just my focus right now is on helping this team to win and making it to the playoffs.”