Yankees 2B Robinson Cano has picked up his former hitting abilities in the Dominican Winter League this season after a sub par 2008 with the Yankees.  He is hitting .303 (10-33) with eight runs scored, five doubles and seven RBIs.   The Yankees cleared the way for Cano to play for Las Estrellas de Oriente as designated hitter for one month.

Cano was disappointed with his 2008 performance and vowed to learn from it and turn it around in 2009.  “It’s a year that I’m going to learn from and not be back in this situation again,” Cano said in September. “This is a year that you can just say, ‘OK, this is not happening again.'”  He hit .271 last year, with an On-Base Percentage (OBP) of just .705.  Just two short years ago, Cano finished second for the batting title, hitting .342 with an OBP of .890 – a huge difference.

The Yankees and Cano are taking a very proactive approach to getting him back on track in ’09.  Cano hired a trainer and has lost weight.  Pitching Coach Kevin Long even spent 6 days with Cano in the Dominican last month to check out the mechanics of his swing.  Long has a lot of confidence in Cano and his swing.  “You’re going to see a huge difference visually,” Long told MLB.com. “You’ll see less movement, an explosive, compact swing, and you’ll probably see more home runs. I think his average will go way up, and I think his walks will go way up.”