For some reason, I am skeptical hearing that about players during the off-season. Over the past decade and a half, it often had some PED-binge undertones. Sometimes it spoke to a player's previous lack of dedication to his craft (i.e.: his body). As for Robinson Cano, I think it's more the latter than the former.
“He’s got a personal trainer, and he’s probably down to 10 or 11 percent body fat,” [Kevin Long, the hitting coach] said. “This kid is focused, he’s determined. I’ve never seen him like this. His arms are cut, his stomach is cut. He’s doing hitting, throwing, agility work — and these workouts at night, I watched them, and they’re grueling. I told him I was so proud of him.”We want our favorite players to be 110% dedicated to themselves, the team, their teammates. We expect them to get and stay in a decathalete's condition. We consider it an affront when they show up like Carlos "Buffalo" Silva. The conditioning has never been an issue for ARod, who maintains his body better than anyone. As for the mental side, Long said:
“I can’t even imagine going through a divorce in the middle of a season and trying to compete at the highest level. He was able to do a good job, but there were days last year when you could just tell he had a lot on his mind. He’d be looking through you, and not completely focused like I’d seen him. You try to push that to the side for a couple of hours and do the best you can, but it’s easier said than done.”At least we know it's an odd year, and we all know how ARod does in odd years, don't we? In case you forgot, he's won the MVP the last three odd years (2003, 2005, 2007)
So where can Long see Cano batting this year:
The way Long figures, Canó could bat directly ahead of Rodriguez, who hits cleanup, or directly behind him. Either way, Long expects both to improve.