The first time Jose Cano threw batting practice to his son, Robinson, was about a quarter of a century ago. The son thinks he was 3 or 4. The father thinks it happened around age 6. But from the moment it happened, Robinson knew what he wanted.

It didn't matter to him that he grew up in San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic -- the city known in the 1980s for producing shortstops. He was born with different baseball blood.

"I just wanted to hit," Robinson said.

Jose grew up a shortstop -- the signature position of the best players from that region -- but by the time he turned 18 and signed with the New York Yankees he was a pitcher. He played only three games in the minors before he bounced from the Atlanta Braves' system to the Houston Astros' system.

He briefly made the big leagues with Houston for six games in 1989 -- even picking up a win in his final major league appearance, a seven-inning, two-run gem in Cincinnati.

Jose never made it back to the major league stage again until a year ago, when he was suddenly at the center of its universe. Robinson surprised Jose, asking him to lean on his quarter century of experience and pitch to him during the Home Run Derby. With David Ortiz, Prince Fielder, Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp in the competition in Arizona, Jose didn't really think Robinson could win.

"Those people have a lot of power," Jose said.