Rivera questions Cano's drive

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 06 2014 10:15:49 PM EDT
Updated On: May 07 2014 11:04:37 AM EDT
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

Dave Kaup/Reuters

Retired New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was critical of former teammate Robinson Cano and his desire to be one of baseball's best players in his new autobiography.

In "The Closer," Rivera questioned Cano's passion to excel. Baseball's career saves leader also said if he were to pick a second baseman, he would choose Dustin Pedroia of the rival Boston Red Sox despite Cano's durability and productivity during his years with the Yankees.

"This guy has so much talent I don't know where to start," Rivera said of Cano in excerpts published by the New York Daily News on Tuesday. " ... There is no doubt that he is a Hall-of-Fame caliber (player). It's just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there.

"I don't think Robby burns to be the best. ... You don't see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players."

Rivera went on to praise Pedroia's tenacity.

"Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more," he wrote. "He comes at you hard for twenty-seven outs. It's a special thing to see.

"If I have to win one game, I'd have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman."

Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent during the offseason, and said on Tuesday he still respects Rivera.

"Everybody has a different opinion. That's his opinion and I have to respect his opinion," Cano said, according to ESPN.com. "I'm not going to go too far into this. That's the only thing that I can say. My focus right now is this team.

"I'm here, we're winning. I was over there already and now I'm here and now I'm focused on the team. I'm going to be excited for my teammates."

In the book, Rivera also said he expressed concern last year about Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter returning too soon after ankle surgery.

"I also think in this case his drive just blinded him -- and maybe everybody else, too," said Rivera, who retired after the 2013 season.

Jeter is playing his final year for the Yankees.

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