Robinson Cano participated in the MLB All-Stars exhibition in Japan in November. While playing in an exhibition game on November 15 Cano was hit by a pitch, breaking his pinky toe on his right foot.
With permission from the Seattle Mariners team officials, Robinson Cano will play in the Dominican Winter League starting on Tuesday.
In the grand plan, Cano will play for Estrellas Orientales before joining the Mariners at Spring Training in Peoria, Arizona. The Mariners have their first full-squad workout on February 25th.
This is from GM Jack Zduriencik, from MLB.com, on Robinson Cano playing in the Dominican Winter League:
"“Robinson approached us about playing games in the Dominican Winter League and we have granted him permission to play in a limited amount of games. Robinson has reported to us his broken right pinkie toe is fully healed and he wants to get on a baseball field to test it before reporting for spring training.”"
There have been mixed opinions on Cano’s participation in the Winter League, but generally it seems like a wise decision as long as his games and innings are limited.
If his pinky toe is indeed fully healed, he needs that time with live pitching to test his front foot through his swing and see how it reacts to cuts and plants out at second base. As long as he doesn’t play more than 50 or so innings, Cano should be rested and ready for Spring Training.
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Cano was a vital cog in the Mariners offense last season, batting 3rd in the lineup for 157 games. He hit .314/.382/.454 with 14 home runs, 82 RBI, 37 doubles, 61 walks, and only 68 strikeouts. Without his presence in the M’s lineup, the team would have struggled offensively– moreso than they did struggle.
The team needs Robinson Cano healthy and ready to play come opening day, and if the Dominican Winter League helps him ready for the season, by all means swing away.