KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The boos started when Robinson Cano’s name was called in the first inning, and they continued every time he came to the plate.

The grudge Royals fans hold against Cano has nothing to do with something he did this season, or even anything from the season before that. No, Cano was booed by a sold-out crowd at Kauffman Stadium on Friday because two years ago he didn’t select Royals designated hitter Billy Butler to take part in the Home Run Derby held in Kansas City.

Cano had previously indicated he would prefer to have a hometown player on the American League Home Run Derby team. Instead, he left Butler off the roster, and Kansas City fans greeted each of Cano’s swings with loud boos that only got louder as he went 0-fer in the competition.

Friday, Cano had a more productive answer to the jeering: He drove in the Mariners’ first run with a single, and drove in another with a double in the fifth inning off Royals ace James Shields.

Cano has the most hits and extra-base hits of any player to face Shields.

Seager gets rest, sort of

Manager Lloyd McClendon said he “needs to be more conscious” of resting third baseman Kyle Seager. That’s why Seager was the designated hitter Friday, a half-off day of sorts.

“Get him off his legs a little bit,” McClendon said. “We’ve been grinding him pretty good. Let’s freshen him up a little bit.”

He added, “He’s swung the bat pretty good for us, but we’ve got to rest him whenever we can. So this is one way to do it.”

Seager has appeared in 70 of the Mariners’ 73 games, including 68 starts.

Friday was the first time he was the DH.

McClendon said part of the challenge of giving players days off was injuries to Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders and Corey Hart. He said it’s tough to rest players “when you don’t get the matchups you want with the replacements. Yeah, it’s tough.”

Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277

or jjenks@seattletimes.com