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Can Cano continue blistering start?

Back when Joe Girardi proposed that Robinson Cano bat fifth, I raised a holler, saying that in order for Cano to provide value in that spot he couldn’t slip at all from last season’s level of production, and perhaps even raise his on-base percentage. He’s done that (and how!) hitting .395/.400/.816 in his first nine games. He’s hit four home runs, including two on Thursday night and has yet to ground into a double play. Now 27 years old, it seems very much as if Cano is peaking.

And yet, just as some have prematurely celebrated Jeff Francoeur’s newfound patience, it is too early to say if the Cano we’re seeing now is the same one we’re going to be seeing all season long. He’s drawn but one walk, and his pitches-per-plate appearance is up fractionally. What he does have so far is a crazy-high line-drive rate.

This is all fun to watch, but it would be more exciting if we hadn’t seen it before. Last season, Cano was hot in April, batting .366/.400/.581 with five home runs. He cooled rapidly, and spent May and June scuffling by his standards, hitting .271/.302/.439 with seven home runs. He got his engines reignited in July and finished strong, hitting .339/.370/.555 over the last three months. Perhaps this season will be the one in which Cano doesn’t have a month or two of .290 to .310 on-base percentages, but until we actually get to the end, this is a movie we’ve seen before.

You can hit a triple to left field, you can hit a triple to center field, you can hit a triple to right field, and you can hit a triple to Bobby Abreu. On Thursday, Granderson hit two, both of which might have only gone for two bases had the Angels not had old traded-for-Stocker out in the pasture.

Chan Ho hits the DL today with a bad hamstring. Early reports seem to suggest that it won’t be a long stay, although you never know with those hammies. Boone Logan is on his way back from the sticks, giving the Yankees the inevitable second left-hander in the pen. I question the move. Joe Girardi has not been handicapped overmuch so far by having to rely on Damaso Marte. In fact, you might suggest that having to conserve Marte has helped Girardi make too many overzealous, Coffee Joe pitching changes. Instead of having a spot lefty in the game to get mashed more often than not, the Yankees have gone with their best relievers, pitchers who can get anyone out.

Moreover, the current patch of schedule, with Texas, Oakland, Anaheim (again), Baltimore, and Chicago isn’t exactly dripping with classic-phase David Ortiz types that require specialized weapons to control. Better to establish a Mark Melancon (you knew he was coming), an all-purpose pitcher, than to distort your whole bullpen by bringing in so limited a pitcher as a spot-lefty.

The Rangers’ pitching has looked quite good so far this season. By the end of this series, you will no longer be able to say that. They have yet to be adequately tested. The Yankees will serve.

• Today’s Dead Player of the Day, Earl McNeely, plus debating Sirius-XM’s Mike Ferrin.

Wholesome Reading has been updated, with more coming throughout the weekend. Warning! Politics! Submarines!

• I have a short autobiographical fragment up at Casual Observer Music.