Mets newcomer Canha boosted by Showalter compliments | Professional soccer


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — In his first week of spring training camp with a new team, New York Mets outfielder Mark Canha already possesses something all players expect from their manager: confidence.

Canha deserved it, said new Mets manager Buck Showalter.

“A trustworthy guy, a guy you can trust,” Showalter said Friday. “I said to him yesterday, ‘I’m so glad you’re here.’ He’s a guy who’s engaged. He’s very disciplined.”

“He’s just a guy, you know what you’re going to get from him every day in his approach to the game,” he said.

Canha, 33, who signed a two-year, $26 million contract on Nov. 30, took the compliments to heart.

“It means a lot, coming from him in particular,” he said. “He’s a guy who’s coached a lot of great baseball players. Anything positive he has to say about me means I’m doing something right.”

“That’s kind of my approach this year – be yourself, be the guy you are. That’s what they want you to be. That’s how I fit in, so do what you do,” he said.

Canha batted seventh and played left field in Friday’s instrasquad game on the practice complex’s main field — a free spring training appetizer before the Grapefruit League opener against the Nationals from Washington Saturday night in West Palm Beach.

Canha’s highlight was running a wind-affected long volley into the corner of left field from Dominic Smith – displaying his athleticism as he sprinted to the line and caught the catch at full stride.

Earlier in the week, Showalter mentioned Canha as an option to play center field, joining Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte in the job discussion.

Canha hit 17 homers with 61 RBIs while batting .231 last year for Oakland. He played his first seven seasons for the A.

Nimmo, whose increased speed and regular defensive skills improved a lot last season, swings to the left side, putting the more likely right-handers Canha and Marte in the mix against the left-handed pitcher.

Marte (left oblique) is currently barred from striking, but the two-time Golden Glove winner should start swinging over the next few days.

Also new to the Mets, Marte has an advantage over Canha: between his stints in Miami and Oakland in 2021, the Dominican speedster led the majors with 47 stolen bases.

Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer, a towering fly in the wind that barely came out.

“That’s what we play for, isn’t it?” said Lindor. “We play for the fans. We want big crowds. … It was fun to run along the line and hear people cheering me on.

JD Davis, Khalil Lee and prized prospect Brett Baty also homered.

In three innings, Robinson Cano drove in the only two hits of the game, a pair of singles.

“The batting skills will always be there,” Showalter said of Cano’s bat. “I think we got a glimpse of how he can help us. He’s a pro hitter – he doesn’t always need to correlate with the big power numbers either.

Cano served a drug suspension last year and missed the entire season.

NOTES: After it was revealed that Dominic Smith played with a partially torn right labrum last season, Showalter was asked how he wants players to handle this situation going forward.

“Differently,” Showalter said. “I think that also tells you everything you need to know about him. He didn’t use it as an excuse. Look, the last time someone was 100 percent was when they pulled out of the parking lot to start spring.”

“It’s not a normal thing to do to your body seven days a week for seven or eight months,” he said.

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