Friday, August 5, 2011

Cano's Back After Beaning

Friday, August 5, 2011

A specialized batting helmet sat in Robinson Cano's locker Thursday, in case he wanted a little extra protection for that night's game.

Associated Press

Robinson Cano gathers himself after beaning Wednesday night as Joe Girardi, right, and trainer look on.

Who could blame him for using it? Cano appeared to be fine Thursday and was in the starting lineup. But the night before, the Yankee star had taken a 93 mph Nate Adcock fastball off the right side of his batting helmet, and he dropped like a stone.

Cano tried to stay in the game, but dazed, he walked off the field and did not return.

"Walking down the first base line, he said he was okay and felt good. But when you get hit in the head like that, you have to be sure," manager Joe Girardi said.

Adcock clearly did not mean to hit Cano in the head, but that's where it gets fuzzy. The next inning, with a runner on first, one out and the Yankees clinging to a one-run lead, Yankee starter A.J. Burnett nailed the Royals' Jeff Francoeur with a one-ball, one-strike, 89 mph cut fastball.

"Of course it was intentional," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Adcock's a rookie. We didn't hit Cano…that was an absolute accident, but I didn't think Burnett hitting Francoeur was an accident. That's the way the game goes sometimes."

Both sides were immediately warned by the umpires, but manager Joe Girardi, who eschewed retaliation when Russell Martin was hit in Baltimore earlier in the season, said that Francoeur wasn't hit intentionally.

"There's no way we're going to hit a guy to put the tying run in scoring position. A ball got away from him, just like the ball got away from their kid," Girardi said.

Burnett said much the same— acknowledging how it looked, but noting that his control was lousy all night. The erratic Burnett led the league in hit-batsmen last season, and has plunked three already this year. Plus, Francoeur is a friend, Burnett said.

Burnett said catcher Russell Martin needed to calm him down after he hit Francoeur.

As Burnett and Girardi were issuring their postmortems, Cano was undergoing a CT scan, which came back negative. He went through another battery of tests Thursday with a neurologist, then was cleared to play.

"His tests came back normal," Girardi said. "So everything's good."

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A23

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