Cano spoke with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman via speakerphone from manager Joe Girardi's office on Wednesday, as all involved parties attempted to get on the same page. Cano now agrees with the recommendation that he not participate because of a stiff lower back.
"They don't want me to take the risk that I go out there and make the thing worse in my back," Cano said. "They don't know how many swings I'm going to make. They say I might feel good the same day, but you never know how you're going to wake up the next day.
"They don't want to take the risk that they'd lose me for the second half -- two weeks, three weeks, a month. I agree with them. I don't want to put myself in a situation where they're going to have to get someone else to play second base."
Cano leads the Yankees with 16 home runs and was among Major League Baseball's first six announced participants for the Home Run Derby, but Cashman and Girardi both said earlier Wednesday that Cano had been removed from participation.
That came as news to Cano, who spoke with reporters upon arriving at the stadium and believed he was still active for the competition.
He was not aware that Cashman had checked with head athletic trainer Gene Monahan, who recommended Cano not participate because of the back stiffness, which he has been treating since Sunday.
Cano said the meeting in Girardi's office took 10-20 minutes.
"To be honest, I was upset," said Cano, who saw an early online report when pitcher Javier Vazquez showed it to him. "You want to know what's going on. I don't want to come here and you [reporters] talk to me about something that I don't know."
Cano was out of the Yankees' lineup on Wednesday, his first day off after starting New York's first 83 games. He said that he will still play for the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game and plans to be on the field for the Home Run Derby as an observer.
"Like I always say, the team comes first," Cano said. "It's going to be fun to watch it. Now I know the situation why I'm not going -- not because they don't want me to. It's a situation where I don't want to get hurt."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.