The MLB-Japan All-Star Series show will go on, but it’ll be without its leading man.
Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano was lifted from Game 3 on Saturday after being struck in the foot by a pitch from Yuki Nishi and was diagnosed with a fractured little toe on his right foot after X-rays at a nearby hospital. The injury ruled Cano out of the rest of the series.
The seven-time MLB All-Star was most likely the player Japanese fans wanted to see most, and he was hoping to have been in action in Game 5 on Tuesday in Sapporo and the exhibition on Nov. 20 in Naha, Okinawa.
“That’s the goal, to play the whole game every game,” Cano said before Game 4, “Give the fans the chance to see you play everywhere the team goes.”
Cano, who hit .314 with 14 home runs and 82 RBIs in the first year of a $240 million, 10-year contract in 2014, said it would probably take him four weeks to heal and felt he’d be better around the middle of December.
Cano was struck by a 1-0 pitch in the seventh and limped to first base. It didn’t take long for Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, who is leading the MLB team in Japan, to emerge from the dugout to check on the star infielder. Jose Altuve was the next man out of the MLB dugout, going in to take over Cano’s running duties as the Mariners star walked off the field.
“I’ve been hit in the knee 95-96 (mph), and still played in the game,” Cano said. “It’s part of the game. Things happen for a reason. I know he didn’t want to do it on purpose. What else can you do? It’s part of the game; you just have to deal with that.”
Nishi and Japan manager Hiroki Kokubo met briefly with Cano on Sunday.
“He apologized, and I said it’s part of the game,” Cano said. “There’s nothing to feel bad about.”
Following Saturday’s game, which Japan won 4-0 at Tokyo Dome, Nishi said the one thing he’d like to have back was the pitch that hit Cano.
Cano was unsure of what his next step would be when he spoke before Game 4. He didn’t know if he’d be accompanying the MLB team to Sapporo or departing for the U.S. on Monday.
“I’m thinking about what I’m going to do,” he said. “They said they don’t want me to walk around too much.”
Staff writer Kaz Nagatsuka contributed to this report