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Cano earns second MVP honor of Classic

Cano earns second MVP honor of Classic play video for Cano earns second MVP honor of Classic

MIAMI -- Robinson Cano is having fun, and it's easy to see why.

The Dominican Republic's second baseman was named the Most Valuable Player of the second round of the World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park on Saturday, just like when he won the award in the opening set of games last week in Puerto Rico.

Cano is hitting .519 in six games, and his 14 hits and 24 total bases lead all players in the Classic. Even better, his team is 6-0 after defeating Puerto Rico, 2-0, on Saturday, sitting just two wins from what would be the Dominicans' first Classic title.

Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez was duly impressed with Cano, adding that the star player's influence extends beyond the Dominican Republic.

"What Robinson means for the [Classic], for all of Latin America -- it means a lot," he said. "We are watching one of the game's elite players, defensively and offensively.

"Watching him from the other side, performing at 100 percent every game … He wants to show that Latin Americans know how to play the game. He is a very proud man, and we have a lot of respect for him."

Cano had to beat out teammate Fernando Rodney for the MVP award as the Dominican closer saved his fifth game of the Classic on Saturday.

Rodney's Classic ERA is a perfect 0.00, and Cano said there was only one key difference between the two stars.

"I know with Rodney I had a tight competition, but since I am more handsome, I won it," Cano said as media members laughed.

Turning serious, Cano was asked what it felt like to hear a rival manager such as Rodriguez give him so much praise.

"It makes me feel proud," said Cano, a four-time Major League All-Star who led the New York Yankees to the 2009 World Series title. "I'm honored to hear him express himself that way -- not just about me but also about my teammates. It motivates me.

"But the MVP is an individual award. The most important thing to me was qualifying for the next round. And if my teammates don't get on base and do their jobs, we could not have won."

Cano also praised Rodney for being a team player.

"He could have said, 'Look, I have a job with Tampa Bay -- I can't pitch,'" Cano said. "He hasn't put any limits [on his availability]. And really, all of our guys in the bullpen are available at any time.

"We, as hitters, just want to get the lead so we can turn it over to the bullpen, and they can do their jobs. They are inspired, and you have seen the results."

The next challenge for the Dominican Republic is the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Monday night's semifinal game in San Francisco.

The Dutch upset the Dominicans, 2-1, in the first round of the 2009 Classic in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

That has left Dominican fans -- who showed up by the thousands this week at Marlins Park -- begging for "revenge", a notion that was referenced by more than one Spanish-speaking media member.

Cano, though, urged caution on that kind of talk.

"I don't look at it as a 'debt,'" Cano said in response to a question. "We have to win every game to remain in the battle. But we have to forget what happened in the past." 

Walter Villa is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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