NEW YORK — Robinson Cano said that each day the bone bruise on his left thumb improved a little bit. Before returning Monday, he said it felt “way better, much better.” After missing no more than three games during each of the past seven seasons, Cano admitted that the forced rest (four consecutive games) felt strange.

“That night (of the injury), I went home and I felt a little discomfort,” he said. “I didn’t want to aggravate it.

“It’s really hard to sit down for a game and watch (your teammates).”

Cano, who was hitting .327 before the injury, is not worried about losing momentum. He went 1 for 3 with two walks Monday.

“I’ve been feeling great the whole year,” said Cano. “Our team is great. (Getting injured) is a part of the game. I’m not going to put my head down.”

Even without gaudy power or RBI numbers, Cano feels good about his production.

“I’ve been doing my job with runners in scoring position,” said Cano. “I feel like I’ve been doing my job, even if I don’t have the numbers.”

Jones thrilled to be back in New York

James Jones clearly relished the opportunity to play his first professional game in his hometown of New York City. The Brooklyn native, who was in the minor leagues during the Mariners’ last trip to New York, from April 29-May 1, grew up in the Ebbets Field Houses, blocks from the site of the former Ebbets Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played from 1913-1957.

“I’m more excited than anything,” said Jones, whose mother and sister were in the crowd on Monday.

Despite going 0 for 4 Monday, Jones has brought life to the Mariners’ lineup, hitting safely in 19 of his 23 starts.

“He’s ignited our offense at the top of the order,” said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. “He’s getting on base, he’s playing good defense. He’s got the ability to stretch the field both offensively and defensively.”