The most important locker in Robinson Cano’s life these days is not his own, but the empty one two stalls over at the Yankees’ spring complex.
There is Alex Rodriguez’s nameplate. And there is some of his stuff inside the cubicle. But there is no occupant.
Alex Rodriguez looms over this camp, lurks over the organization’s current and future plans, and swirls around no individual more than Cano.
For a baton pass may already have been occurring in which Cano was the most feared hitter in the Yankees lineup. But that is starker now with A-Rod sidelined for at least a half a season following hip surgery and about 100 homers having vacated the roster.
Derek Jeter is recovering from an ankle fracture and Mark Teixeira has been regressing for several years now and Curtis Granderson has morphed into an athletic version of Adam Dunn.
This leaves Cano — the most talented, prime-aged Yankee — as The Man in a way he has never before encountered, a burden that arrives along with his walk year, when success or failure can be worth tens of millions of dollars. Even if Cano is able to table all pressures and concerns — as he promised to do yesterday — and performs at an MVP caliber in 2013, well, there is still that empty locker.
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