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EVERETT — The Everett AquaSox knew they couldn’t keep a potential Hall of Famer in their lineup forever, but the Frogs certainly would have taken one more day of Robinson Cano.
Originally scheduled to play with the Sox in Everett for four games — Thursday through Sunday — the Seattle Mariners star was jettisoned to meet up with the M’s one game early and was absent from Everett’s lineup Sunday.
“We were hopeful we would have him in here today,” said AquaSox manager Jose Moreno, who learned of Cano’s early departure hours before game time. “For some reason he was taken over there. That wasn’t the plan, but it is what it is.”
Cano, who is serving an 80-game suspension for violating major-league baseball’s drug policy and was working his way back to the majors, is expected to rejoin the Mariners this week in Oakland. He is eligible to be reinstated Tuesday.
During his three games in Everett, Cano went 5-for-11 with two home runs and six RBI.
That production was missed Sunday afternoon.
Everett starter Jheyson Caraballo was hit around early, the AquaSox’s first five batters didn’t record a hit and the Frogs suffered a 7-4 loss to the Eugene Emeralds at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“It was a rough start,” Moreno said. “Our starter didn’t have his best stuff working today. When you get behind six runs early, it’s hard to come back.”
Eugene’s Grant Fennell put the Emeralds in front 1-0 in the top of the second inning, driving in Nelson Velazquez with an RBI double down the left-field line. The run snapped a scoreless streak of 15 innings. Eugene hadn’t scored since the fifth inning of Friday’s 5-2 loss to Everett.
An inning later, Eugene tacked on three more runs.
Andy Weber started the scoring with an RBI single into right field. Luke Reynolds followed with an RBI triple that AquaSox left fielder Ryan Ramiz misplayed. Ramiz dove for a low-liner, missed and the ball rolled all the way to the left-field wall. Velazquez drove Reynolds in with single through the left side of the infield that pushed Eugene’s lead to 4-0.
After a 1-2-3 inning, Caraballo’s struggles resumed in the fifth. The righty struck out the first two Emeralds he faced before yielding back-to-back-to-back doubles that extended Eugene’s lead to 6-0.
Caraballo, who entered Sunday’s game with a 4.87 ERA in 43 innings, was pulled after giving up the third double. He went 42⁄3 innings, gave up six earned runs on eight hits, struck out three and walked one.
Everett finally got to Eugene starter Faustino Carrera, who pitched six innings of two-run ball, in the fifth inning.
Ryan Garcia followed a Goeandry Montilla double with a double of his own down the left-field line, getting Everett on the board. The AquaSox’s Charlie McConnell, who in the first inning made beautiful diving catch to rob a base hit, later in the inning clutched up with a two-out RBI single to cut Eugene’s lead to 6-2.
“I remember (Carrera) two years ago in the Dominican,” Moreno said. “He has pretty good stuff. Our lineup is a lot of left-handers, so when we have a lefty on the mound, it’s hard for us.”
Eugene added a final run when Fennell took Everett reliever Jamal Wade deep to right-center, extending Eugene’s lead to 7-2 in the top of the sixth.
Everett trimmed Eugene’s lead to 7-4 on a pair of sacrifice RBI from Ryan Garcia and Matt Sanders in the bottom of the sixth, but the Frogs couldn’t push another run across.
After splitting the first four with Eugene, Everett will look to take the fifth game at 7:05 p.m. Monday. And, no, Cano isn’t expected to walk into Everett’s clubhouse again, but it was quite the experience for the Frogs.
“It’s always good to have a guy around that has the experience that he has,” Moreno said. “You can see the guys around him. They were really excited to play. It was a fun thing for them to have a big-leaguer like Cano.”