Cano draws a crowd for 1st Mariners workout

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) - Robinson Cano balanced on one leg and stretched his arm, keeping in unison with the rest of the Seattle Mariners during their pre-workout stretch.

Click, click, click.

Fans wearing his No. 22 focused their smartphones and snapped shots. Photographers’ lenses followed him across the field from drill to drill.

The second baseman drew a crowd and was the center of attention for his first workout with the Mariners on Tuesday. The former New York Yankee might as well get used to it.

“Even more fun than what I thought,” Cano said afterward. “Being embraced by teammates, coaching staff, the manager, the front office - I feel like I’m part of this team right away. Not going to take long to get used to this uniform.”

Seattle fans have already warmed to him.

Approximately 200 fans showed up at Seattle’s spring training complex to watch the franchise’s new cornerstone do some stretching, some throwing and some fielding on a hot, sunny morning. Cano got a 10-year, $240 million deal to be the centerpiece of Seattle’s rebuilding.

On his first day, the fans followed him from field to field.

“There’s a lot more people than previous years,” said Matt Massot, 18, of Seattle, who wore a Cano shirt to his fourth spring training. “When you add Robinson Cano, it can’t get any more exciting.”

Seattle fans are celebrating their Super Bowl championship and hoping that Cano’s signing gets their baseball team turned around, too. The Mariners lost 101 games in 2008 and again in 2010.

They went 71-91 last season with a young roster that finished 25 games behind Oakland in the AL West. First-year manager Lloyd McClendon is trying to raise expectations in the clubhouse, which is one area where having Cano will definitely help. Cano chose Seattle over the Yankees, who are accustomed to high expectations.

“One of the messages that I’m trying to send to my players is we don’t have to take a backseat to anybody, and that includes the New York Yankees or anybody else,” McClendon said.

Cano sidestepped a question about how long it will take the Mariners to become a championship contender.

“I don’t want to say we are close, but I know we’ve got a team that can go out there and compete,” Cano said. “We’ve got some good, young talent. I don’t want to say we’re going to be in first place, second place, last place.

“I want to show these young guys all the things I learned in New York, the experiences I have, and what it takes to make it to the playoffs and win a championship.”

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