Keeping Robinson Cano in pinstripes far beyond this season is a priority, and Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has spelled that out to agent Scott Boras. "We expressed to Scott how much we like Robbie and what a great Yankee he’s been, and we hope he continues his career here for a long time to come," Steinbrenner told reporters Tuesday.

Cano is eligible for free agency at season’s end, and Boras is known for taking his clients the distance and extracting every available dollar. "We just indicated to [Boras] on a very preliminary basis that we were willing to consider a significant long-term contract and left it at that. And nothing really happened. There’s really nothing to report since then.

"The main purpose of the conversation was to just let him know we want Robbie to continue to be a Yankee," said Steinbrenner, adding that he likes his club’s current makeup. "There’s been a lot of talk about our age, but I like having those veterans. … I like the experience. And I think it’s great for the young players to have that around."

Hughes stiff

Starter Phil Hughes will be sidelined for "a few days" due to upper back stiffness, according to manager Joe Girardi. The right-hander felt tightness Monday after covering first base in a fielding drill.

"There’s always a little bit of concern. … we’ll see how he is in a couple of days," Girardi said. "The good thing was that he was ahead of where he’d probably normally be at this time, which helps."

Girardi would’ve been more concerned if it were the lower back. Reliever Mark Montgomery reported improvement after experiencing back spasms earlier this week and played catch Tuesday.