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August 10, 2007

Robinson Cano & His Man Melky

From Kat O'Brien's great feature on #'s 24 and 28:

Cano calls Cabrera "Primo," which is Spanish for "cousin," but given how closely they stick together, the pair almost could be Siamese twins. They reside in the same complex (though in different apartments) in Fort Lee, N.J., each living with his mother. They ride to and from Yankee Stadium together. They go to the batting cages for extra hitting together. And they have been frequent offseason visitors at one another's homes in the Dominican Republic since striking up a friendship in 2001.

Lately, Cano and Cabrera have added a new copycat routine. Their batting averages began to soar in late May and continue to rise. Cano has lifted his average from .249 on May 29 to .309. Cabrera has climbed from .215 on May 28 to .302.

And the Yankees have risen with their 24-year-old second baseman and 22-year-old centerfielder, who turns 23 tomorrow.

"We were struggling at the beginning of the season," said Cano, who hit .342 last season. "I never lost hope, though. I never lowered my head. I always believed that I would hit above .300. I always expected that. And I always believed that the team would play better."

Many around the Yankees believe the team's improvement in the standings is closely tied to the upswing by Cano and Cabrera. Not just in terms of their increased production, but because they bring an infectious energy to the team.

Alex Rodriguez said this week that he feels like a teenager around Cano and Cabrera, who celebrate A-Rod's homers by tightly sandwiching him in the dugout and jumping up and down. It's true, even the stodgiest person would have a tough time remaining dour while watching their antics.

"I think when you don't have youth, you don't have enthusiasm, it gets really stale around the team and the clubhouse," Mike Mussina said.

Cabrera has a growing legion of fans, though, who alternately call him "Leche" or "Melk-man" - as in "The Melk-man delivers." Manager Joe Torre loves him and general manager Brian Cashman refused to trade him to the Rangers for Eric Gagne last month. Still, Cano and Cabrera are each other's biggest fans, and they figure to grow together as Yankees.

I really dig the fact that they both live with their mothers in Fort Lee. That says a lot about their character. Lou Gehrig would have approved.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 10, 2007 08:18 AM


Great story! Small correction--Cano changed his number to 24.

Posted by: Joel [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 10, 2007 09:50 AM

I don't believe for a second that Robinson Cano lives with his mother.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 10, 2007 01:43 PM

I don't believe for a second that Robinson Cano lives with his mother.
Out of curiosity, why not?

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 10, 2007 04:03 PM

~~~Small correction--Cano changed his number to 24.~~~

Thanks, I fixed it.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 10, 2007 10:02 PM

Out of curiosity, why not?

Because he's a famous 24-year-old millionaire. Cano is an adult. I can't imagine it's easy having a mature relationship with someone if your mother is living with you.

I wouldn't doubt he kept her close -- maybe a condo in the same building or something -- but living WITH her? I don't know -- to me, that sounds kind of bizarre. I've never met a person in their twenties who lived with their parents if they didn't have to.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 11, 2007 12:02 AM