Lloyd McClendon fires back at Yankees hitting coach who dissed Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano, left, shakes hands with Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, right, after being introduced as the newest member of the Mariners baseball team on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

New York Yankees fans will tell you that Robinson Cano didn't always give out 100% when running out grounders. They'll especially tell you that these days, now that he's left town to collect $240 million over 10 years from the Seattle Mariners.

But until recently, we didn't hear too much outward criticism of Cano's "hustle" from Yankees officials. However, hitting coach Kevin Long ripped Cano in a New York Daily News article that published over the weekend. Long said, in part: 

“We all talked to him,’’ Long said. “I’m pretty sure [Derek] Jeter talked to him a number of times. Even if you run at 80%, no one’s going to say anything. But when you jog down the line, even if it doesn’t come into play 98% of the time, it creates a perception ... But he just wouldn’t make that choice to run hard all the time. The reasons aren’t going to make sense. He might say his legs didn’t feel good, or he was playing every day and needed to save his energy. To me there was no acceptable answer.’’

Cano's new manager in Seattle, Lloyd McClendon, fired back at Long on Tuesday, telling ESPN's Jerry Crasnick:

"Last time I checked, I didn't know that Kevin Long was the spokesman for the New York Yankees," McClendon told ESPN.com. "That was a little surprising. I was a little pissed off, and I'm sure Joe [Girardi] feels the same way. He's concerned with his team and what they're doing, not what the Seattle Mariners players are doing.

"I'm a little surprised that Kevin Long is the spokesman for the New York Yankees. I wonder if he had any problems with Robbie when he wrote that book ["Cage Rat"] proclaiming himself as the guru of hitting."

Juicy! Who's looking forward to a season-long war of the words between the Mariners and Yankees over Cano?

Something tells us Cano will be running out everything when the Mariners visit the Bronx for a series starting April 29. Cano could also respond by making "Can't Knock the Hustle" — the rap song by his agent Jay-Z —his walk-up music for the 2014 season.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!