Like many others on the team in 2019, Robinson Cano‘s regular season with the Mets was an up-and-down experience.
The 15th-year veteran and former Yankee’s return to New York ended Sunday when the Mets (86-76) swept the Braves (97-65) with an 11th-inning classic, capped by Dom Smith‘s three-run home run.
After the Mets fell short of the playoffs despite an admirable second-half surge, Cano’s debut campaign in orange and blue was plagued by injuries — something he referenced multiple times while reflecting on his shortened season.
“It’s kind of hard to describe,” said Cano, who batted .256 with 13 home runs and 39 RBI. “When you go home and then you work hard, every single day, to get ready and be able to help this team and go down twice with injury, hit in the hands four times. It’s kind of hard to feel as a player, because if I look back and if I was healthy, it would’ve been maybe a different season and a couple of times I was getting hotter — one was my quad and getting hit in the hands — so it’s hard.”
Dealt to the Mets from the Seattle Mariners last offseason with Edwin Diaz (2-7, 5.59 ERA), Cano logged 107 of New York’s 162 games.
Among his injuries, he missed a month with a torn left hamstring sustained Aug. 4, returning Sept. 4 and slashing .286/.378/.508 while hitting three home runs and knocking in six RBI ahead of Sunday’s finale.
Cano, who turns 37 on Oct. 22, noted the need to work harder on his durability when he switches gears to the offseason.
“I’ve been working out hard on my body, but this year, I’ve got to focus more on the injuries I have, especially my legs,” Cano said. “I have to focus on getting that stronger and then just whatever I have to do to keep excercising through the season to keep that strong.”
Questions surround the Mets as they determine the next steps for contention in 2020, but their future with Cano is set — the second baseman is signed through 2023 after 2019 marked the first of five years left on his 10-year, $240 million contract he originally signed with the Mariners.
“We have a great team,” Cano said. “Especially the rotation. … But sometimes stuff happens during the season. Sometimes things don’t happen the way you want, but I think, for all of us, it’s a good message — the season starts from the first game of the season. Because at the end of the day, you don’t want to rely on somebody to win or lose a game for you to be able to make the playoff.”