Lloyd McClendon 'surprised' by Kevin Long's criticisms of Robinson Cano

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners manager is surprised and angry with the criticisms that Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long directed towards Robinson Cano on Sunday.

New Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon expressed his surprise on Tuesday at Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long's criticism of Robinson Canoper a report from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

On Sunday, Long lamented the fact he could never get Cano to hustle down the first base line on every play.

"If somebody told me I was a dog, I'd have to fix that," Long stated. "When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that's your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to."

Long went on to say that Cano would often come up with excuses for not running hard to first, but in Long's eyes, "There was no acceptable answer."

Asked about Long's comments on Tuesday, McClendon said Long should keep his opinions to himself, believing that the Yankees hitting coach had overstepped his bounds in criticizing Cano:

Last time I checked, I didn't know that Kevin Long was the spokesman for the New York Yankees. That was a little surprising. I was a little pissed off, and I'm sure Joe [Girardi] feels the same way. He's concerned with his team and what they're doing, not what the Seattle Mariners are doing.

In response, Long told ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand that there was no malicious meaning in his comments about Cano and he is not the spokesman for the Yankees.

Cano played nine seasons with the Yankees before signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners this offseason. The second baseman debuted in 2005, finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, and made five All-Star teams as a member of the Yankees. He batted .314/.383/.516 with 27 home runs and 107 RBI in 2013.

The 2014 season will be Long's eighth as the Yankees' hitting coach, with the team's offense generally among the league's best during his tenure with the club.

Following McClendon's comments and Long's subsequent apology, the issue appears to have blown over for the time being. The two teams will first meet during the 2014 season on April 29 when the Mariners travel to New York in what will be Cano's first trip back to Yankee Stadium since signing with the Mariners.

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