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Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: March 3, 10:19 AM ET
Robinson Cano focused on baseball

By Wallace Matthews
ESPNNewYork.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- Robinson Cano admitted Friday that his upcoming contract negotiations "never go out of your head," but vowed he would not allow them to become a distraction as he heads into what could be his final year with the New York Yankees.

"I'm just focusing on baseball," Cano said in response to questions that the Yankees had made a "significant offer" to extend his contract before he becomes a free agent next winter. "I'm not gonna let anything get in my head and distract not only me but the team cause I don't want to be like a selfish guy. I just want to help the team win another championship."

Cano I'm just focusing on baseball. I'm not gonna let anything get in my head and distract not only me but the team cause I don't want to be like a selfish guy. I just want to help the team win another championship.

-- Yankees 2B Robinson Cano

But when asked if it was difficult to keep such thoughts from distracting him, Cano said, "It's never gonna go out of your head, that's all I can say."

Later in the day, Cano did not seem distracted when he went 2-for-3, including an RBI single, in the Yankees' 10-5 loss to the Phillies at Steinbrenner Field.

"He looked pretty good to me," manager Joe Girardi said. "It didn't look like it affected him."

Nor did Girardi think the looming contract issue would affect Cano in the regular season.

"I think Robby will be able to block it out," he said. "I think Robby will go out and have a good year and play well. He might have to go out and answer questions about it a few times, but I'm sure it will all die down once the season starts."

Cano's contract situation was back in the news Thursday, when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman mentioned to a group of reporters that the team had indeed made an offer to Cano and his agent, Scott Boras. Previously, owner Hal Steinbrenner had said the Yankees "were willing to consider a significant long-term contract" for Cano, a four-time All-Star who is considered one of the best players in baseball.

On Friday, Cashman jokingly called his statement "a Joe Biden gaffe," but when asked if there had been any repercussions from his boss, Cashman said: "No, I mean other than hopefully you guys sold a lot more papers and got a lot more page hits on the Internet."

Cano would not confirm whether he had received an offer, and hesitated when asked whether the offer had been rejected.

"I'm gonna let Scott and the Yankees discuss that," he said. "I hope after today, I don't want to be a distraction for the team. I just want to come here and focus on playing baseball."

Girardi said he had not seen any signs that Cano, who is leaving the team on Sunday to play for his native Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, was being affected by the contract negotiations, but said he would speak to his second baseman if he thought it was becoming a distraction.

"I'll tell him what I've told other guys: "You're a good player, someone's going to want you, so just go out and play, and control the things that you can control.

"Robbie's going to get paid. One way or another, Robbie's going to get paid. So I don't think that's his biggest concern."

On Thursday, Boras texted the following statement to ESPNNewYork.com: "Robinson is focused on preparing for and playing the 2013 season. By agreement, discussions shall remain confidential. Also by agreement, discussions will cease if they are a distraction to Robinson's performance and leadership of the 2013 Yankees."

Boras, one of baseball's toughest and most successful negotiators -- he obtained Alex Rodriguez's then-record breaking 10-year, $252 million contract from the Texas Rangers in 2001, and another 10-year, $275 million extension from the Yankees in 2007 -- is believed to be seeking a deal for Cano in the neighborhood of the contracts signed by Joey Votto and Albert Pujols last year.

Votto got 10 years and $225 million from the Cincinnati Reds. Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels for 10 years and $240 million.