Mariners second baseman pays respects to good friend Ortiz
By Mark Chiarelli
SAN DIEGO -- Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano didn't have an impact on the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, a 4-2 American League victory, but he had one of the best vantage points during a special moment at Petco Park on Tuesday night.
The game momentarily came to a halt after AL manager Ned Yost pinch-ran for David Ortiz in the third inning following a walk. Boston's designated hitter left the field to an ovation from fans and players alike, and his teammates greeted him on the field in front of their dugout.
Cano, who affectionately refers to Ortiz as his big brother, was the first to embrace a smiling Ortiz.
Like many of the Midsummer Classic participants, Cano kept a keen eye on his close friend and fellow Dominican, who participated in his final All-Star Game ahead of his expected retirement at the end of the season. When asked about the impending departure of the 40-year-old Ortiz, Cano said he'll be missed.
"I haven't pictured that yet, but it's sad," Cano said. "You're never going to get to see the big chains, the way he walks, the walk-off home runs -- it's going to be hard."
Cano attended his seventh All-Star Game on Tuesday, returning via the players' vote. His streak of five straight appearances ended last year, but he's regained his form this season following offseason surgery to repair a double hernia, hitting .313 with 21 homers -- the same amount he had at the end of 2015.
His lone contribution Tuesday came in the form of a walk in the seventh inning, one inning after he replaced Houston's Jose Altuve at second base.
Cano also had a unique vantage point during Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby. He lost to the eventual champion, Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, in the opening round, despite having his father, Jose, pitch to him -- the same battery that won the 2011 Home Run Derby. Stanton hit 24 homers to begin his night and Cano couldn't match the torrid pace, hitting seven.
Although Cano took a backseat on Tuesday, his friend Ortiz was appreciative of the respect shown by Cano and others.
"It's something that I'll never forget," said Ortiz. "When you see all your boys -- pretty much everybody in this dugout has been related to me one way or another. As an older player, you always have a tendency to give the younger players advice and stuff like that. In my case, I don't care if you're a pitcher or position player, if I can find a way to help you out, I will."
Cano added that Ortiz's generosity stretches beyond the field as well.
"He's the same guy you see on the field," Cano said. "He's always happy and helping people, that's what I love about him. With how many kids he's helped with his foundation to get housing back [in the Dominican Republic] that's too expensive, to do that, and the way he gets along with people, it's amazing."
Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.