In a Spanish-language interview, Cano told USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz he has been battling a stomach ailment for nearly a year, and that it still affects him to this day.

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It’s no secret that Robinson Cano, the Mariners’ star second baseman, has underperformed this season. What has been a mystery, however, is why the perennial All-Star’s play has suddenly dropped off. Typically a .300-plus hitter with power, Cano has hit .248 this season with five home runs and 27 RBI through 79 games.

Well, we might have an answer. In a Spanish-language interview, Cano told USA Today’s Jorge L. Ortiz he has been battling a stomach ailment for nearly a year. Cano told Ortiz he began experiencing discomfort in August but wasn’t examined until after the season was over. In October, Cano was told he had a common parasite. But after taking antibiotics he developed symptoms of acid reflux, which he still experiences.

“It still affects me,” Cano said. “Sometimes you drink water and it makes you feel like vomiting. I can’t eat the same way I did. It’s hard to deal with, especially being the first time this has happened to me. Sometimes I eat only once a day before playing, because I feel full. And you just don’t have the same energy.”

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As the article points out, Cano was reluctant to say anything about his stomach discomfort because he did not want to make excuses for his play.

“Sometimes I play without any strength or energy, but you have to play, give the best of yourself,” Cano told USA Today. “Some people may say, ‘Cano, he’s listless.’ But (the energy) is not the same.”

Cano also said he has altered his meals to mitigate the discomfort, eliminating red meat from his diet. The six-time All-Star made a concerted effort to shed weight in the offseason, entering the year 13 pounds lighter than last season.

Aside from physical health, Cano has also had to deal with the death of his grandfather, Ovidio. Cano said Ovidio, who died of lung cancer in March, was “like a second father” to him.

“He was my No. 1 fan,” Cano said. “If he were alive now, he would call me and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Last year you had better numbers. What’s happening? Are you OK?’ ”

Nelson Cruz, a teammate and friend of Cano, echoed those sentiments in the USA Today story.

“They are things in your personal life that have an impact,” he said, “and even though you may not want to, they can affect your game.”

Despite his struggles, Cano has shown signs of his old self in recent days, hitting .333 over the past seven days, including two doubles and a home run.