Mariano Rivera disses Robinson Cano in new book, while praising Dustin Pedroia

Mariano Rivera isn't the type to throw shade at people — teammates, ex-teammates, rivals, whoever it may be. So it's a bit of an eyebrow-raiser to find out that Mo slams ex-New York Yankees teammate Robinson Cano in his new book, "The Closer," which is out Tuesday. It's not surprising, really. Just juicy.

Rivera, who retired from the Yankees last season as baseball's all-time saves leader, questions Cano's drive and passion in the book. It's not new criticism for Cano, who had a reputation for not hustling enough by the end of his tenure in New York. It is, however, new to hear this from Rivera, who's usually Mr. Say the Right Thing.

From the New York Daily News (whose Wayne Coffey helped Rivera write the book):

In his new autobiography, “The Closer,” Rivera writes about how much affection he has for his former teammate, but adds, “This guy has so much talent I don’t know where to start... 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.”

As for his favorite second baseman, Rivera says Red Sox Dustin Pedroia is “at the top of the list” of players he admires, adding: “Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for twenty-seven outs. It’s a special thing to see.”

He later writes, “If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman.”

Ouch. Of course, most Yankees fans hate Cano now too, since he left for $240 million to join the Seattle Mariners. So Rivera saying he prefers the Boston Red Sox second baseman isn't as blasphemous as it might seem.

This brings to mind a similar situation this spring, in which Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long questioned Cano's hustle publicly. Lloyd McClendon, Cano's new manager in Seattle, went to bat for his star afterward.

It'll be interesting to see who — if anyone — comes to Cano's defense against Rivera.

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

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