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McClendon: Cano's homers to come in bunches

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano passed the quarter mark in the season on Friday with one home run, nine doubles and 23 RBIs with a .304 batting average. Though the home run total is far below Cano's norm, manager Lloyd McClendon said it was only a matter of time before the five-time All-Star raised that pace.

Cano doubled to the opposite field off the top of the fence in left-center in Friday's 5-4 loss to the Twins, coming within inches of his second home run of the year. He hit the yellow line atop the fence for another double going the same way at Safeco Field on Monday.

"I'm not concerned about his power at all," McClendon said prior to Saturday's game. "I challenge anybody to hit that ball as far as he did yesterday. That was about 415 feet into the gap. He hit that ball pretty good, without a lot of effort, just flicking the wrists."

Cano was on pace going into Saturday's game to hit four home runs, 36 doubles and 92 RBIs in 162 games, and McClendon believes he will exceed those numbers.

"If you look at the history of this guy, when he gets hot, he really turns it on," McClendon said. "He turns it on like you've never seen. I think he's probably a little ahead of pace, really. He's probably going to finish with 40 doubles, 25 home runs and 100-plus RBIs.

"The power numbers will come. He hit a breaking ball yesterday that was as hard a hit breaking ball as I've seen all year. If he'd have got that ball up, it might have left the ballpark in right field. To say he doesn't have power, it hasn't produced itself yet. But I can see it coming."

McClendon said the fact Cano was producing without having hit a hot stretch yet just shows his talent at the plate.

"The guy hits," McClendon said. "He's like a guy that scores 20 points in basketball. You look up and say, 'How did he get those points?' It's the same thing with Robbie. You look up and he's hitting .300 and has nine or 10 doubles and 20-25 RBIs. His home runs will come, and they'll come in bunches.

"He kind of reminds me a little of [Barry] Bonds, not in the sense of power, but a Bonds or [Miguel] Cabrera. They're line-drive hitters that happen to hit home runs. He's going to hit his home runs. They'll come."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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