MIAMI -- Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano is having trouble finding elevation.
After smacking his first homer as a Mariner on Thursday against Texas, Cano said he has been producing too many ground balls lately, which is not what he wants as a power hitter.
Cano, who signed a $240 million contract to leave the New York Yankees for Seattle this past offseason, also got off to a slow power start in 2012. That year, it took him 12 games to hit his first homer, but he still ended up with a career-high 33 long balls.
On Friday against the Miami Marlins, Cano had issues again. On his first three times up, he hit three grounders, and only one got through the infield for a single. The others were easy outs.
In his fourth at-bat, Cano got some elevation ... but he popped out to shortstop in an RBI situation -- runner on third with just one out.
Cano ended his offensive night 1-for-5 by striking out in the ninth inning.
He is now hitting .266. But it's a soft .266. His on-base percentage is only .324, and his slugging number is also unimpressive (.344).
For example, Mariners first baseman Corey Hart is slugging .521 at the moment.
For the Mariners to make noise this season, logic would dictate that Cano has to get crackin'.
Or, to put it another way: To give the team a lift, Cano has to lift the ball long, far and consistently.
STREAK: Lost four
NEXT: Mariners (LHP Roenis Elias, 1-1, 2.16 ERA) at Marlins (RHP Henderson Alvarez, 0-2, 4.30 ERA)
--LHP Roenis Elias, who will start Saturday at the Miami Marlins, is off to a great start as a rookie. The 25-year-old native of Cuba is 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA in three starts. Batters are hitting just .196 against him. Saturday's start should be interesting for Elias for reasons that go beyond baseball. Miami is home to a huge Cuban-American population, and how Elias will be received at Marlins Park will be fascinating to watch.
--RHP Chris Young (0-1) took the loss Friday against the Marlins, lasting just three innings and allowing seven hits, three walks and four runs. Young, making just his second start of the season, threw 73 pitches and only 38 for strikes. Young, 34, is a veteran pitcher who is viewed as a stop-gap in the rotation. Friday's performance won't help Young's cause.
--1B Corey Hart has told manager Lloyd McClendon that he is willing to play the outfield, where he has 793 career starts. McClendon took Hart up on his offer and played him in the outfield Thursday for the first time since July 27, 2012. With right field being so spacious at Miami's Marlins Park, McClendon said he will have Hart back at first base this entire weekend. But more outfield work could be in Hart's future. Still, the main thing for Hart is to continue to rake offensively. He went 2-for-5 Friday against Miami and has a .521 slugging percentage for the season.
--C Mike Zunino, the Mariners' first-round pick in 2012, was back in his home state on Friday. The former University of Florida star was impressive, throwing out Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria on a steal attempt at second base. In 50 games last season, Zunino threw out just 18 percent of the runners who tried to steal. This year, in his first full season in the majors, Zunino is off to a great start, catching 4 of 10 for 40 percent. Offensivelly, Zunino doubled in three at-bats on Friday and is hitting .280 on the season with a healthy .540 slugging percentage.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We tried to stay away from (RF Giancarlo) Stanton. He's the one guy in their lineup who can really hurt you, but we had no choice (in the ninth)." -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, after the Marlins' Stanton hit a game-winning grand slam in the ninth inning Friday.
--RHP Blake Beavan (right shoulder stiffness) left the game April 15. He went on the 15-day disabled list April 16.
--RF Logan Morrison (right hamstring tightness) left the April 14 game. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 15.
--RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (sprained tendon in right middle finger) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He threw bullpen sessions April 9, April 12 and April 15. The Mariners are targeting the end of April for a probable return.
--RHP Taijuan Walker (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He made a rehab start for Class A High Desert on April 4, then pitched for Double-A Jackson on April 9. He suffered a setback on his way to the active roster, being scratched from his scheduled rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on April 15 because of stiffness in his shoulder.
--LHP James Paxton (sore left lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list April 9. He might be able to return in late April.
RHP Felix Hernandez
RHP Erasmo Ramirez
LHP Roenis Elias
RHP Chris Young
RHP Fernando Rodney (closer)
RHP Danny Farquhar
RHP Tom Wilhelmsen
LHP Charlie Furbush
RHP Yoervis Medina
LHP Joe Beimel
RHP Dominic Leone
1B Justin Smoak
2B Robinson Cano
SS Brad Miller
3B Kyle Seager
UT Willie Bloomquist
INF Nick Franklin
LF Dustin Ackley
CF Abraham Almonte
RF Michael Saunders
OF Corey Hart
OF Stefen Romero
OF James Jones
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