SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A year ago, Robinson Cano tore up the Cactus League with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 19 games before embarking on an outstanding campaign for the Mariners. This spring, Cano is instead walking up a storm in the early going.The seven-time American League All-Star drew two
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A year ago, Robinson Cano tore up the Cactus League with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 19 games before embarking on an outstanding campaign for the Mariners. This spring, Cano is instead walking up a storm in the early going.
The seven-time American League All-Star drew two walks and doubled in four plate appearances in Friday's 8-2 loss to the Rangers, giving him seven walks in 16 plate appearances in his first five games. He walked just four times all of last spring and had 47 walks in 161 regular-season contests.
Cano says drawing walks means he's seeing the ball well, and while the Mariners look for him to be one of their middle-of-the-order thumpers coming off a career-high 39 home run season, manager Scott Servais appreciates the seven free passes already as well.
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"He may go a whole month and only get that," Servais said. "But it's good. He's seeing a lot of pitches, feels comfortable at the plate and he's not chasing. So it's a good sign."
With his fifth-inning double, Cano is 3-for-9 in his five games with a healthy .625 on-base percentage.
Heredia opening eyes
Though outfielder Guillermo Heredia grounded out in the ninth inning in his lone at-bat, the 26-year-old Cuban has been one of the pleasant early surprises of camp, as he's 7-for-13 with four doubles, a triple and seven RBIs while also making several outstanding catches.
Servais has used Heredia in all seven games to date and will continue to give him a long look as the Mariners search for a right-handed hitting outfielder to complement Jarrod Dyson in left field.
"He's certainly earned it," Servais said of Heredia's extensive playing time. "He did pretty well for us last year in the big leagues for a guy that just got signed to a contract in March. There's no doubt he can defend. The throwing arm is a plus. The bat, he needed to make adjustments, and it looks like he has, and he's getting results, which is great for him.
"In talking to coaches about what guys have surprised us most this spring, his name came up from a few of our guys. The adjustments he's made offensively are very noticeable."
• Reliever Tony Zych threw 25 pitches in the bullpen in his second mound session of the spring as he works back from biceps surgery on his right arm.
• Steve Cishek, the Mariners' other rehabbing reliever, played catch for the first time on back-to-back days as he progresses following microfracture hip surgery in October. Cishek is ready to start some treadmill and running, which are positive signs in his recovery.
• Lefty relief specialist Marc Rzepczynski, who struggled in his debut earlier in the week, bounced back with a quick inning Friday. After walking the leadoff man in the sixth, the free-agent signing got a double-play grounder and pop out.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
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