According to excerpts from Mariano Rivera's new book, the Yankees closer would choose Dustin Pedroia at second base over his former teammate Robinson Cano, now with the Seattle Mariners.
Rivera's new autobiography, "The Closer," is written by New York Daily News sports writer Wayne Coffey, and has high praise but also criticism for Cano, who joined the Mariners this offseason.
"This guy has so much talent I don't know where to start," Rivera says in the book. "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."
When asked to name his favorite second baseman, Rivera instead points to former rival Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox "at the top of the list." Of Pedroia, Rivera says, "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."
Rivera goes on to say, "If I have to win one game, I'd have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman."
This isn't the first time that Cano has received criticism from the Yankees since leaving the team to sign a $240 million contract with the Mariners. In February, Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long singled Cano out for his unwillingness to run out routine ground balls. Following Cano's intruductory press conference in Seattle in December, Yankees team president Ted Levine said he felt bad for Cano, "because I think he's disappointed he's not a Yankee."