Mets newcomer Canha boosted by Showalter’s compliments

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — In his first week of spring training camp with a new team, New York Mets outfielder Mark Canha already possesses something all players want from their manager: trust.

Canha has earned it, new Mets manager Buck Showalter said.

“Trustworthy guy, guy you can trust,” Showalter said Friday. “I told him yesterday, ‘I’m so happy you’re here.’ He’s a guy that’s engaged. He’s very disciplined.”

“He’s just a guy you know what you’re going to get from him every day in his approach to the game,” he said.

The 33-year-old Canha, who signed a two-year, $26 million contract on Nov. 30, took the compliments to heart.

“That’s means a lot, coming from him especially,” he said. “That’s a guy who’s coached a lot of good baseball players. Anything he has to say positive about me means I’m doing something right.”

“That’s kind of my approach to this year – be yourself, be the guy that you are. That’s who they want you to be. That’s how I fit in, so do what you do,” he said.

Canha batted seventh and played left field in Friday’s instrasquad game at the training complex’s main field – a free spring-training appetizer before Grapefruit League play opens against the Washington Nationals on Saturday night in West Palm Beach.

Canha’s highlight was running down a long, wind-affected fly into the left-field corner by Dominic Smith – displaying his athleticism by sprinting toward the line and snagging the catch in full stride.

Earlier in the week, Showalter mentioned Canha as an option to play center field, joining Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte in the position’s discussion.

Canha hit 17 home runs with 61 RBIs while batting .231 last year for Oakland. He played his first seven seasons for the A’s.

Nimmo, whose increased speed and steady defensive skills were much improved last season, swings from the left side, putting righties Canha and Marte more likely in the mix against lefty pitching.

Marte (left oblique) is currently being held out from hitting, but the two-time Gold Glove winner is expected to begin swinging over the next few days.

Also a newcomer to the Mets, Marte has one advantage over Canha: Between stints at Miami and Oakland in 2021, the Dominican speedster led the majors with 47 stolen bases.

Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer, a towering fly into the wind that barely got out.

“That’s what we play for, right?” Lindor said. “We play for the fans. We want big crowds. … It was fun to run down the line and hear people cheer me on.”

J.D. Davis, Khalil Lee and prized prospect Brett Baty also homered.

Through three innings, Robinson Cano produced the game’s only two hits, a pair of singles.

“The hitting skills are always going to be there,” Showalter said of Cano’s bat. “I think we got a glimpse of how he can help us. He’s a professional hitter – doesn’t always have to correlate into big power numbers either.”

Cano served a drug suspension last year and missed the entire season.

NOTES: After it was revealed that Dominic Smith played through a partially torn right labrum last season, Showalter was asked how he wanted players to handle that situation in the future.

“Differently,” Showalter said. “I think it also tells you all you need to know about him. He didn’t use it as an excuse. Listen, the last time anybody’s a hundred percent was when they got out of the parking lot to start the spring.”

“This isn’t a normal thing to do to your body seven days a week for seven or eight months,” he said.


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