Yankees coach wanted Cano to run harder to first base

Around the New York Yankees, no one was closer to Robinson Cano than hitting coach Kevin Long, whose early, extra batting practice sessions helped to polish a perennial All-Star player. But one thing that never sat well with the Yanks was Cano’s failure to run hard out of the batter’s box.

“If somebody told me I was a dog, I’d have to fix that,” Long told the New York Daily News. “When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.

“We all talked to him. I’m pretty sure (Derek) Jeter talked to him a number of times,” Long said. “It’s too bad because Robbie cared a lot. By his last year here, he was becoming a leader in the clubhouse.”

When asked about the subject, manager Joe Girardi said he’s had discussions with all of his players on “how we expect them to play the game.” Late in the 2008 season, Girardi benched Cano for repeated lack of hustle defensively.

“Robbie was a guy we ran out every day, and we expected him to be a leader and do certain things,” Girardi said. But “as far as exact discussions I have with my players, I’m not going to divulge them.”

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