TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Felix Lopez stood on the top step of the New York Yankees’ dugout, chewing on an unlit cigar stub and flashing the smile of a proud father.
Second baseman Robinson Cano was back on the field with the Yankees after leading the Dominican Republic to the championship of the World Baseball Classic and Lopez greeted him with a big hug near the batting cage.
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“His success with the Dominican Republic just shows he’s a great player and we’re proud of him,” said Lopez, the Yankees’ chief international officer. “I’ve seen him since he was a baby and I call him my son sometimes because he grew up in this organization.”
Cano, a four-time All-Star who returned to camp Thursday, was MVP of the WBC after hitting .469 with two homers and six RBIs. Now, it’s back to work with the Yankees, who are battling injuries and skeptics as the regular season nears.