Mariners, Yanks to square off in Bronx, honor No. 42
This is Robinson Cano's third year with the Mariners, so his formative years as a cog in the New York Yankees' machine are pretty far back in the rearview mirror.
Still, Cano can't deny that it's always, well, interesting to return to the Bronx, and that's what the Mariners will do for the first time this season when they arrive for a three-game series against the Yankees on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Nathan Karns (0-1, 7.20 ERA) will take the mound for Seattle against Yankees righty Luis Severino (0-1, 5.40) at what's sure to be an energetic Yankee Stadium, and Cano will likely get his share of enthusiastic jeers and appreciative cheers for the nine seasons he suited up in pinstripes.
"I understand [why they act the way they do]," Cano said. "I agree with them. I'm not there anymore. It's not like you're going to cheer for [someone on the opposing team the way you'd cheer for] one of your guys. I have fun with it. I don't have any complaints about Yankees fans. They remember me and supported me, and it's something I'm always going to appreciate."
Cano still recalls his first game at the old ballpark and cherishes that memory. And on Friday, Cano, along with the rest of the players in the game, will create some more.
They will wear the number of the man the Mariners' second baseman was named for: Jackie Robinson. They'll all don No. 42, as they do every year, to honor the same date in 1947 when Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier not too far from Yankee Stadium at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.
"That ballpark is one of the ballparks where, as soon as you walk in the parking lot, you know you're going to Yankee Stadium," Cano said.
"The dimensions, the differences. As soon as you walk in, you know you're going to play baseball, and you want to play baseball. You know you're playing to win. Now it's a bit different, it's more modern, but the old one, it gave you the feeling of playing in the same place as all those superstars, Hall of Famers that played in that stadium."
Things to know about this game • Karns is making his fifth career start vs. the Yankees. He's 1-0 with a 2.91 ERA, with 28 strikeouts and 10 walks in 21 2/3 innings. He's 0-0 with a 2.31 ERA in Yankee Stadium.
• Severino, who will be making his second start of 2016, will be facing Seattle for the first time in his career. He is 3-2 with a 3.16 ERA lifetime at Yankee Stadium. In his first outing this year, he took the loss at Detroit on April 8, giving up three runs on 10 hits in five innings.
• Yankees designated hitter (and former Mariner) Alex Rodriguez has 997 runs as a Yankee and needs three runs to become the 12th player in franchise history to reach 1,000 runs with the club.