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Ken Singleton previews Yankees vs. Mariners

Robinson Cano's return to the Bronx is the biggest storyline
04/29/2014 11:01 AM ET
By Ken Singleton

Robinson Cano returns to the Bronx Tuesday for the first time as a Mariner.(AP)
The Seattle Mariners arrive at Yankee Stadium with an overall record of 10-14, and within that record they have been streaky, having won three of their last four games after losing eight straight.

This crew of Mariners should borrow a page out of the book of the ancient Mariners, such as Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, and Alex Rodriguez, whose Mariner teams had a prolific offense, with loads of home runs and extra base hits ringing throughout the Kingdome. Today's Mariners offense, however, ranks near the bottom of the league in several offensive categories; only the Astros have a lower team batting average, and only the Tigers and Astros have scored fewer runs - and it must be noted Detroit has played four fewer games than Seattle.

That said, some Mariners have been swinging hot bats.

After a very slow start, third baseman Kyle Seager has heated up lately, coming into the Bronx with four straight multi-hit games (and five home runs during that streak), and former Yankee Robinson Cano has more or less been the hitter Yankee fans remember. Cano is hitting .301, with a seven-game hitting streak and at least one hit in 20 of the 24 games in which he has appeared, but there has been a lack of power; Robbie has just one home run so far this season, which could partially attributed to his new home park, Safeco Field, with its cool, damp early-season weather and distant fences.

Because of the relative lack of hitting, the pressure is on the Mariners' pitching staff to hold the opposition down, and led by King Felix Hernandez, who starts on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, the pitching has been decent; the Seattle staff has held opposing teams to a .236 batting average, which is fourth-lowest in the league.

This should be an interesting series, though, just for the fact that Robinson Cano makes his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since signing with Seattle in the offseason as a free agent.

I must admit, I, like many others, was disappointed when Cano took the deal with Seattle after nine solid seasons in the Bronx, but I was not angry. I was playing when free agency was finally achieved by the players in 1976, after a long, hard battle with the owners. The right to free agency when earned by a player should be examined thoroughly. The Yankees made a competitive offer, Seattle offered more money, and that was that - Cano is now a Mariner. I really thought Cano would be a career Yankee, but it was not to be.

So, it's time to move on, play ball, and enjoy what should be an entertaining three-game series between the first-place New York Yankees and the Sattle Mariners.

STARTING LINEUPS

MARINERS:

Abraham Almonte CF
Stefen Romero RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Corey Hart DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Cole Gillespie LF
Kyle Seager 3B
Mike Zunino C
Willie Bloomquist SS

Chris Young RHP

YANKEES:

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Brian Roberts 2B

CC Sabathia LHP

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