BOSTON -- Even playing 20 innings in Saturday's day-night doubleheader couldn't keep Robinson Cano out of the lineup on Sunday, as the Yankees second baseman saw duty in his 160th game of the season.
Then again, when Cano is lacing nine hits in 11 at-bats against Red Sox pitching, it is easy to keep writing his name in the lineup.
"For me, he's the MVP. You look at what he's done offensively, defensively," manager Joe Girardi said. "Yes, there are some guys that have had a little bit better years offensively, but I don't think they make the same defensive impact that Robinson Cano does.
"When you look at the whole picture, to me, he's the MVP. In Alex [Rodriguez's] absence, he stepped up huge in the four spot -- people were wondering who was going to hit fifth. Robinson Cano has been a beast."
With an eighth-inning RBI single in New York's 8-4 loss on Sunday, Cano became the first Yankees second baseman to record back-to-back 200-hit seasons, and the first since the Indians' Carlos Baerga in 1992-93.
"That's one of the things that I always liked," Cano said. "I know I'm not a home run hitter. It's a thing I know I can do, getting hits. I worked hard in the offseason, and it has paid off. I was excited to get 200 hits."