ARLINGTON -- Robinson Cano wasted no time carrying his hot spring into the regular season as the second baseman lined a home run off Rangers lefty Cole Hamels on the second pitch he saw in the first inning of the Mariners' 3-2 Opening Day loss Monday at Globe Life Park.
Cano hit just one home run in his first 47 games last year when he got off to a slow start in his second season with Seattle, but he slugged seven homers in Cactus League play this spring and said he's feeling fully healthy and ready to go after undergoing double-hernia surgery in October.
The 33-year-old went through some difficult times in 2015 following the death of his grandfather during Spring Training and then some digestion issues that affected his eating and sleeping even before the stomach problem that led to the hernia surgery. But he said all that's behind him now, and getting off to a quick start following his torrid spring certainly helps bear that out.
"That is the goal," Cano said. "You want to work in spring and get your swing and carry it into the season. Thank God that right now I feel good and healthy. Now you don't have to deal with Grandpa's dead and all that kind of stuff. And I'm able to move my hips. Those pitches right there might have been ground balls to second or first base [last year]."
Cano rifled an 0-1 fastball from Hamels over the fence on a ball that registered a 110-mph exit speed off the bat, according to Statcast™.
"I thought it was going to be a double," Cano said. "I didn't think it was going to go out. But good thing it did."
"He really got on that one," said manager Scott Servais. "It's great to see him get off to a great start."
Teammate Kyle Seager followed with a leadoff homer in the second off Hamels. The two homers by left-handed hitters equaled the number of homers Hamels allowed to lefties in all of 2015.
"You saw how he settled down after that," Cano said. "He was mixing 'em pretty good after that."
Despite the early homers staking Seattle to a 2-0 lead in a game Felix Hernandez and Mike Montgomery combined to hold Texas to just one hit, the Mariners wound up losing due to three walks and two errors in a three-run fifth.
Cano wasn't going to overreact, however, knowing the season is just getting started.
"I would say every loss is tough," he said. "But those are the kind of games you have to learn from. Things are going to happen in this game and sometimes it's better to have it happen now than later in the season. It's only one game, but you learn from mistakes. What can you say? [Hamels] pitched really good after those two homers and they took advantage of that inning."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.