Cano playing out Mariners' season in pain

Cano playing out Mariners' season in pain

SEATTLE -- Robinson Cano ran home from second about as hard as he could on a single to center in the fourth inning of the Mariners' 3-2 loss to the Rockies on Sunday, and even then, it wasn't very fast.

Cano slid to beat Rockies catcher Dustin Garneau's tag for Seattle's second run of the ballgame, but lay on the ground for several seconds before gathering himself and limping back to the Mariners' dugout.

Lingering pain while running has been the norm for the 32-year-old second baseman since he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 abdominal strain in late July. Cano missed three games at the end of July but has since been playing through the pain, running noticeably slower but nevertheless starting every game since Aug. 1.

"Just running. Every time I force it, I feel it a little bit. I was OK, I just didn't want to get up right away," Cano said after the game.

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon joked late last week he would have to get his star second baseman a day off by leaving Cano out of the lineup without telling him and locking the door to his office. But on Monday, McClendon said that with so many important games coming up to close the season, an off-day is looking less like a possibility.

"He's gonna have it all year. It's unfortunate," McClendon said about the injury. "People think he's dogging it, but he's not, he's actually showing up and posting up every day, when most people wouldn't be able to go."

In addition to Cano's stubbornness about staying in the Mariners' lineup, his production at the plate has made it difficult for McClendon to consider giving his second baseman a breather. In 40 games since sitting out three games with the abdominal strain, Cano hit .315 with five home runs and 21 RBIs and made just one error in 170 chances in the field.

In Monday's 10-1 win over the Angels, Cano logged his second multi-hit game of the month and laced a one-out double in the seventh to drive in the first two runs of what became a six-run inning for the Mariners.

"It really has [been surprising]. He's actually swung it better and better. He should've gotten hurt a long time ago," McClendon said, laughing. "It's just Robbie being Robbie, that's all. Check the back of the bubblegum card. He's done it for 11 years, that's all that is."

Cano said on Sunday he would ask McClendon for an off-day if he really needed one, but with 18 games left, that conversation isn't likely to happen.

"You never know how long you'll play this game," Cano said. "So if I get a chance, I'm going to be out there every day. I came here to play the game, and that's all I know how to do."

Worth noting

• McClendon said Brad Miller, who was scratched from the lineup Sunday with neck spasms, was "better, still not there yet." Miller pinch-ran for Mark Trumbo in the seventh inning of Monday's game and stayed in the game at second base.

• Left-hander Vidal Nuno, who pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief on Sunday, could be used out of the bullpen over the next couple games, if needed, McClendon said. Nuno is likely to start Friday's series opener against the Rangers.

Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.