WASHINGTON — Robinson Cano had more than a year to work on his pennant chain.
Whether or not he really practiced that during his season suspension, it certainly looked that way on Thursday, when Cano dropped a shift-breaking run bunt that started a two-run tie rally to seal the Mets’ 5-1 win fire against the nationals.
“One of the biggest parts of the game was Robby’s leadoff Bunt,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Isn’t it funny how good things seem to follow such things?”
A surprise insertion into the opening day lineup with Brandon Nimmo (stiff neck) sidelined. Cano scored two runs in his first MLB action since September 27, 2020. Two months later, he was suspended for the entire 2021 season – the punishment for a second career-positive test for a banned performance-enhancing substance.
Cano batted sixth and started at second base as a left-hander, who was picked over Dominic Smith to face southpaw Patrick Corbin. Cano might have won back a few fans by performing the game purists cry for the whole time. With three infielders on the right and third baseman’s heels at shortstop, Cano pushed a hard bunt right onto the vacated corner.
“If they play like that this year,” Cano told The Post, “I’m going to take that single.”
The Mets followed with a walk, a single where Cano failed to test center fielder Victor Robles’ arm, and a hit by pitch with loaded bases and no outs to score the first run of the game.
Cano, 39, was in the thick of the action as the Mets doubled their lead to 4-0 in the sixth. He expanded on a seemingly harmless threat by hanging up two with two outs, ahead of back-to-back RBI singles from Mark Canha and Jeff McNeil.
“It was exciting to be back and spending time with the boys,” Cano said. “And win the first game.”
Maybe it shouldn’t have come as a surprise after hitting .360 in eight Grapefruit League games, but Cano went 2-on-3 (leadoff single in the eighth) before being drawn for a pinch runner.
With Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Canha as fresh faces in the lineup, Cano represented a throwback to a disappointing era before owner Steve Cohen, general manager Billy Eppler and Showalter arrived.
Cano came through in a return that was somewhat overshadowed by other storylines, albeit not with the vigor he was making with his pinstriped signature. He once played for a double in a 2013 Yankees game against the Red Sox.
“I was fast back then,” Cano joked.
Cano, who will play at first base this season, also helped Tylor Megill escape one of the two jams he faced during five scoreless innings when he picked up a grounder moving to his right and the Pocket second base touched to strand runners at the corners in third. He later failed to release a similar track cleanly, although it was considered a hit.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/08/mets-robinson-cano-gets-off-to-hot-start-in-return-to-field/ Mets’ Robinson Cano makes a hot start back into the field