Another Mets game, another lineup with Robinson Cano hitting third. Why?
"I don't think 80 games is fair to say he's declined in any way," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Tuesday while explaining why Robinson Cano is still hitting third. "He hasn't lost bat speed, so we just gotta get him confident and get him going. He's gonna hit."
A large chunk of Callaway's pregame scrum with reporters was spent answering questions about why Cano -- who is hitting .223/.270/.361 -- is still batting third, with Callaway coming back repeatedly to the importance of comfort.
"A lof of it is comfortability with the player," Callaway said. "I do like the fact that he's hitting in between who he's hitting. But I think at some point we have to get him going. We're gonna continue to try and do everything he can to make his comfortability where he can have some more success. I think he's been swinging the bat better than his results. He's hit some hard line outs, some hard ground balls that haven't found the holes."
Regarding Cano swinging the bat better than the results, that's true to an extent -- with one instance being a line out to first that Cano hit during Monday night's loss in Philadelphia.
Beyond the comfortability and need to get Cano on track, Callaway discussed the fact that Cano is traditionally a ground ball hitter, with his rate of ground balls this season not concerning to the manager.
It's "hitting them hard enough and placing them well enough to get 'em through the holes and start having some success and allowing him to take off," Callaway noted.
Callaway added that the team is not "gonna pigeon-hole him into the three-hole the whole year," but that a breakout could be coming soon.
"He's showing signs of coming out of it," Callaway said. "I know that the hits have not shown that, but the contact and him barreling up some balls indicated that for us."
A scout who was at Monday night's game explained to SNY contributor John Harper earlier Tuesday just how badly Cano is hurting the Mets in the three-spot, and questioned whether Cano could turn it around. "He just hasn't looked like the same guy," the scout said.
For his part, Cano -- who spoke shortly after Callaway on Tuesday -- attributed a lot of what was going wrong to bad luck.
"I'm hitting the ball hard, just with no luck," Cano said. "I feel good at the plate and I've been seeing the ball good. When you see the ball good and hit the ball good, there's nothing else you can do."
Asked whether it would be okay if he was moved down in the lineup, Cano said he hadn't yet thought about it, with his focus right now on winning -- not where he's going to hit in the lineup.
"Everything I hit is kind of like. ... right at somebody," Cano concluded. "All I know is when it starts falling it's gonna be in a bunch."