NEW YORK, NY: Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Robinson Cano has never hit 30 home runs in a season, but there must be a perfectly good reason for his presence on the American League's Home Run Derby squad.
While Robinson Cano certainly ranks among the American League's best players, he might seem like an odd choice for the American League's Home Run Derby squad, because ... Well, let's just be honest about this thing: Robinson Cano is an odd choice.
Cano's never hit 30 home runs in a season. This season he got off to a wonderful start, with eight homers in April ... but Cano's got only seven since then, and looks like he might hit 25-30 again this season. This doesn't mean he's not a great hitter. It does mean he's not a great home-run hitter ... Which is, the last time we checked, the No. 1 (if unofficial) qualification for participating in Home Run Derby.
1. You never know which hitter might show up in Home Run Derby, with nothing on his mind except hitting long fly balls. Maybe Captain David Ortiz has seen something in Cano's batting-practice sessions that the rest of us haven't. Maybe Cano's a ringer.
2. The National Leaguers have their own second-baseman-in-the-Home-Run-Derby-who-doesn't-actually-hit-many-home-runs. Maybe Ortiz and Prince Fielder got together -- they do seem to have a fair amount in common, if you think about it -- and decided that if both teams had a second baseman who's never hit 30 home runs in a season, it would make the real sluggers -- you know, sluggers like David Ortiz and Prince Fielder -- look all the better.
That's one possibility, anyway.