Playing as DH, Cano goes 0 for 4 and is just 5 for his last 32 (.156 batting average). Superstar had made minor tweaks but doesn’t know why “it’s not clicking right now.”

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TORONTO — Robinson Cano knew there would be questions asked.

He had just gone 0 for 4 and his batting average had plummeted to .247.

There are times when an 0 for 4 is tolerable — usually when the team wins or there were hard-hit balls right at defenders.

But this was a bad 0 for 4. The Mariners lost 8-2 and he was more a hindrance than help as designated hitter, hitting into a pair of double plays in his first two at-bats to kill rallies, hitting a ground ball to second base in his third at-bat and striking out looking to end his day.

Cano has five hits — all singles in his last 32 at-bats (.156 batting average). Even worse, he’s hitting just .171 (7 for 41) this season with runners in scoring position. He’s ending innings and doing little in front of Nelson Cruz.

“You want to help the team win games,” he said. “There are lot of times I’ve had men in scoring position and I haven’t done my job. “

Before the game, manager Lloyd McClendon answered questions about his slumping star.

“I’m sure he’s frustrated,” McClendon said. “He’s probably a little bit embarrassed. It’s only natural. The fact is he’s going to hit. He hasn’t got results here. But I see better positioning at the plate. I see his hands in a better position. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went out and got three hits today. I think he’s really close. He’s going to hit.”

Even though Cano has had the same fundamental swing for much of his career, players can make minor changes to it without even knowing they are doing it – and often it’s not for the better. After looking at some video recently, they’ve found out that Cano had picked up some minor flaws.

“We straightened some things out in Baltimore and thought it was better and it continues to get better,” McClendon said. “Sometimes, as instructors, you can take it for granted because a guy is so good that he doesn’t need help. But that’s not the case. In this game, we all struggle, particularly with our mechanics from time to time. The film doesn’t lie. You take a look at the film. You slow it down, you analyze, you’ll see your flaws and see what you are doing wrong. In that case, we identified it. He’s working on it and he’s getting better at it.”

Beyond the minor tweaks, Cano isn’t sure what the reason is for his struggles.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I feel good. I’m seeing the ball. I would say I’m missing my pitches — pitches right down the middle that I’m hitting for foul balls. There are no excuses for that. I’m just struggling. Everybody goes through these things and I’m trying to stay positive. But it’s not clicking right now. There’s no excuses for that.”

Cano hasn’t lost confidence. Like his manager, he believes things will get better.

“Things happen for a reason,” he said. “If I didn’t work hard back home or do my job here every day to try and get better, I could blame it on something. But I come here every day, do my work, do my job; things aren’t clicking for me. As a long as I feel good body-wise and mentally, I know one of these days everything is going to change around.”


Austin Jackson had three hits for Class AAA Tacoma on Saturday night in Iowa and another hit on Sunday.

McClendon said they are getting closer to recalling him from his rehab assignment for a sprained left ankle.

“I think he’s real close,” McClendon said.

There is a possibility that Jackson could join the team in Tampa for a three-game series. McClendon said he would consult with Jackson, the Rainiers’ and Mariners’ trainers, Tacoma manager Pat Listach and general manager Jack Zduriencik before a decision would be made.

Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his solo homer in the second.