Notes: Torre believes in Cano
Yankees manager expects second baseman's power to return
NEW YORK -- The best is yet to come for Robinson Cano's power numbers, Yankees manager Joe Torre believes.
Cano, though far off pace from duplicating the .342 batting average he posted last season, is only getting closer to becoming a threat for extra-base hits -- and that includes the long ball. Torre said he didn't want to guess how many home runs Cano is capable of hitting at some point in his career, because he didn't want Cano to "see it in print."
"I don't know -- it could happen in the next couple of years," Torre said. "He still has a lot to work out for himself as far as knowing how they're pitching him and just being a little more disciplined at the plate.
"I mean, right now, he could have more home runs, but it would be such bad counts that it's tough, really, to have that consistency because they're not going to throw a ball in the strike zone unless you make them throw a ball in the strike zone."
When it comes to home runs, Cano -- batting .272 with three home runs and 33 RBIs entering Saturday -- said that nothing is impossible. But he added that he doesn't think about being a home run hitter.
Instead, he sticks to improving his statistics game by game, pitch by pitch, and hopefully, season by season, which seems out of reach for him because of the monster numbers he posted in 2006.
"I never think about hitting home runs because I know that's not my swing," Cano said. "I leave that to [Alex Rodriguez] and those guys. Honestly, I never think about hitting 25 or 30 home runs. One thing I always think about is having a better number every year."
Cano hasn't lost track of the other facets that make him a fixture in the Yankees' lineup, either. His defense continues to improve; he has gone 35 games since his last error, which came against the Mets on May 20 at Shea Stadium. And every so often, he'll make highlight reels.
Defensively, Torre said that Cano excels at catching popups over his left shoulder toward the right-field foul line and that his range up the middle allows him to start several 4-6-3 double plays.
"There's really not a whole lot he can't do," Torre said. "He's not afraid to go out and catch a popup; he made a [great] play [on Friday] night on the double play. He's got great hands, a great strong arm. I think the only inconsistency is the fact that he's not there yet, all the way."
Farnsy's frustration: The day after his second blowup in a week, reliever Kyle Farnsworth has nothing to say of his pitching or actions on the field.
"What is there to say?" Farnsworth said. "There is absolutely nothing to say."
Torre tends to agree, saying there's not an issue with his setup man, merely frustration meeting passion.
"The thing about it is, it's easy to sit here and sit there knowing the fact that you're passionate about what you do," Torre said. "You're trying to do your job, and he does something obviously that I think is uncharacteristic, but as far as I'm concerned, it's sort of like you have a fight within the family -- you don't want to spread it around the neighborhood and tell everybody how you settled it.
"But I certainly understand the frustration on his part, and I'm assuming he'd like the chance to do it over again. Let's just leave it at that."
Baby Bombers: A couple of the Yankees' top outfielders in the Minor Leagues are making names for themselves.
Brett Gardner batted 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored on Friday at Double-A Trenton, but the Thunder lost, 5-4. The speedy outfielder improved his batting average to .295 to go along with a .385 on-base percentage. Gardner has 26 walks and 23 strikeouts this season, and he's been successful in 16 of 20 stolen-base attempts.
At Class A, Jose Tabata went 2-for-4 on Friday as the Tampa Yankees beat Vero Beach, 2-1. Considered one of the Yankees' top prospects -- with some comparing him to a young Manny Ramirez -- Tabata is putting together a solid season, batting .308 and swiping 11 bases in 14 attempts.
While the 18-year-old outfielder hasn't shown power yet, hitting just 13 extra-base hits in 266 at-bats, Tabata's batting average is a foundation for his power potential.
Bombers bits: Johnny Damon stepped back into the leadoff spot on Saturday, slotted in as the designated hitter. Damon got the Yankees' first hit of the game Saturday, a sixth-inning single off the A's Chad Gaudin. ... Bobby Abreu also moved back into his familiar No. 3 spot in the order after Torre said he liked Abreu's at-bats in Friday's 2-1 win over the A's.
Coming up: Andy Pettitte (4-5, 3.24 ERA) will take the hill against the Athletics on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, countering Oakland ace Dan Haren (9-2, 1.91 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.