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Mariners have plan for Cano upon return

Servais gives banged up Gordon off-day for finale in Houston
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

HOUSTON -- After playing third base for the first time for Class A Short-Season Everett on Saturday, Robinson Cano has told the Mariners he feels ready to go as he prepares for Tuesday's return from his 80-game suspension.

Cano went 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday night and is 7-for-18 (.389) with two home runs and six RBIs in five Minor League outings between Everett and Triple-A Tacoma.

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HOUSTON -- After playing third base for the first time for Class A Short-Season Everett on Saturday, Robinson Cano has told the Mariners he feels ready to go as he prepares for Tuesday's return from his 80-game suspension.

Cano went 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday night and is 7-for-18 (.389) with two home runs and six RBIs in five Minor League outings between Everett and Triple-A Tacoma.

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Manager Scott Servais said the reports on Cano playing third base were positive after he'd previously worked at first and second base in initial outings, as the Mariners look to prepare him to play around the diamond now with Dee Gordon entrenched at second base.

Cano will fly to Oakland on Monday evening and join the Mariners for Tuesday night's game against the A's.

The plan remains to move the 35-year-old around the infield. Gordon was not in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Astros due to a sore shoulder and he has been dealing with a broken toe for the past two months, so Cano certainly can help give him some time off.

But he'll also be used at first base, where Ryon Healy has slashed .236/.269/.440 with 21 home runs and 57 RBIs, as well as giving third baseman Kyle Seager or designated hitter Nelson Cruz an occasional day off as needed.

Tweet from @EverettAquaSox: CAN�� GRAND SLAM!!! AquaSox up 3 runs in the seventh inning!!! pic.twitter.com/MlCrUU1Jlv

Keeping his team fresh down the stretch is one of Servais' goals.

"It frees some things up with Robbie coming back in the picture," Servais said. "Seag missed the three days on the paternity leave. I'm trying to give Dee a day here. [Shortstop Jean] Segura needed a day in Texas. We've done a little bit more of that.

"Robbie will get some time at first base. Healy had a really nice game last night and got the head of the bat out on a couple balls, which is great to see. He's been struggling a little bit. But all these guys, we'll work in a day off for them. [Mitch] Haniger is probably the one guy who when he's been breathing, he's been out there. He and Nelly are the guys that haven't got much time off."

Gordon slowed by injuries
Gordon was still tied for the American League lead in stolen bases with 27 going into Sunday, but he's had just eight in the 57 games since June 5 while dealing with the broken toe and some other issues. He banged his shoulder on second baseman Yuli Gurriel's knee while stealing a base on Saturday and was out of the lineup Sunday.

"We'll give him a day, though he could be available late in the game if we need," Servais said. "It's been a crazy year for him. This is probably the most banged up he's been in a season in a long time."

Servais said Gordon isn't running quite as well as early in the year, but he still remains a necessary threat on the bases.

"I think when he takes off running -- he had a great jump last night -- he might be a tick down from what he normally is, speed-wise, but he's still really good," Servais said. "So it's hard to say it really bothers him once he gets up to full speed. The toe has probably bothered him more hitting-wise than anything else, just being consistent there. But it's the season. It's long, and things happen.

"[Running] is a big part of his game and mentally he's a tough guy and is able to play through it. But I would say he's not at 100 percent. I think that's fair."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Dee Gordon