OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Robinson Cano won't be swinging for the fences in the Home Run Derby.
While Cano insisted Wednesday his tweaked lower back is just fine and doesn't affect him at the plate, a decision by the Yankees brass had already been made for him. General manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and hitting coach Kevin Long — with input from the training staff — opted to keep the All-Star second baseman out of the event Monday in Anaheim.
"He's not going to participate from what I understand," Girardi said. "We're concerned about his back and how that would affect it. ... We need this guy."
Yet Cano hadn't personally heard that from any of his bosses until early Wednesday evening before New York's series finale at Oakland. He acknowledged being frustrated that it took the team so long to tell him and he had to hear it first from the media.
Girardi and Cashman explained they had planned to talk to him at the ballpark Wednesday.
"I was upset because they hadn't told me," Cano said. "You want to know what's going on."
Cano was out of the lineup Wednesday for the first time all season to give him and his back a break. He injured the back Sunday against Toronto and has received some treatment. He had played in all 83 games so far after appearing in 161 last year.
Cano, who has hit a team-leading 16 home runs, had looked forward to the opportunity to be in the derby. He initially said he would be disappointed not to take part.
"Yeah, why not? It's the first time in your career, go there, have fun. It's something that might happen once in your life," he said.
Later, he said he agreed with the club's decision to protect him for the long haul. He said he would still enjoy watching others take their cuts in the derby.
"They don't want to take a risk out there with my back and lose me for the second half. I agree with them," he said. "The team comes first. Whatever I have to do for the team is no problem for me. I don't want to put myself in a situation where I get hurt."
Girardi said he is being cautious knowing how much the defending World Series champions will depend on Cano's production in the second half. The manager said if there was any miscommunication that Cano wasn't informed about the decision it would be discussed internally.
"That's something we'll have to talk about," he said.
Earlier, before speaking with Cashman and Girardi, Cano said it wasn't worth arguing to stay in the derby.
"I'm not going to do it now," Cano told The Associated Press on his way to the indoor cage. "They already announced it. If I do it, I'm going to look stupid."