SEATTLE -- Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano has been a big hit for his hometown Estrellas De Oriente club in the Dominican Republic Winter League playoffs for the past week, where he finished up his offseason stint on Monday night, according to reports from Dominican media.
Cano received permission from the Mariners to play a limited number of games in the Dominican as he returns from a broken right pinkie toe, and he showed no signs of any problems while hitting .500 (9-for-18) with a triple, two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored in five outings.
Cano went 1-for-3 with a single and was hit by a pitch in Monday's 4-0 loss to Gigantes del Cibao in what was expected to be his final appearance. Estrellas ("The Stars") are now 2-1 in the nine-game championship round of the Dominican playoffs against Gigantes.
According to LigaDom.com, Cano agreed to limit his participation to five games, beginning with three games in last week's round-robin portion of the tournament. He's played strictly at designated hitter, but provided a big lift to a team trying to win the Dominican title for the first time in 47 years.
Cano sat out Sunday's contest in order to play his final game on Monday in his home province of San Pedro de Macoris.
"I want to say goodbye big," Cano told Multimedios del Caribe last weekend. "I want to do it in my village. The idea was to come here to help the team win and thank God we're doing that."
Cano wanted to test his toe, which was broken while playing for a touring Major League squad in Japan in November. But clearly he wanted to compete again in his home country as well.
"I always dreamed of being in a final with the Stars," Cano said. "It's an unforgettable experience to see the people of your town where you grew up, who saw you grow and helped you play ball, to get that back after so many years without playing here."
Cano played for the Dominican Republic in the past two World Baseball Classics, helping his team win the title in 2013. Saying he plays these games "for his country and for the heart," he put his current quest on par or above those Classic efforts when it comes to national pride.
"For me it would be larger, especially for the people of San Pedro de Macoris," Cano told Multimedios del Caribe. "It is something they crave. It has been almost 50 years without a win and that would be a milestone in my life to be part of that team."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.