NEW YORK -- Robinson Cano cannot remember a better start to any of his big league seasons, and that's exactly the brand of offensive production that the Yankees were banking on receiving from their All-Star second baseman.
"This is one of my best starts -- I'd say it's the best one," Cano said. "That's what you want, especially when you don't have the main guys here. Most of the guys are out, so you want to have a good start and help the team win games."
Cano offered a terse "no" on Friday when asked if he and the Yankees had revisited contract negotiations since he switched representation to CAA's tandem of Jay-Z and Brodie Van Wagener, but clearly the topic has not affected his performance on the diamond.
Over his last 15 games entering Friday's showdown with the Blue Jays, Cano has batted .391 with 13 runs, six doubles, seven homers, 17 RBIs and nine multihit games.
He hit his seventh homer of the season in the Yanks' 5-3 win over the Blue Jays on Thursday; last year he did not hit his seventh until his 46th game, on May 26.
"With this team you always have a lot of responsibility, because this team's all about winning, and then the playoffs and the World Series," he said. "But this is the kind of the team that if you come up here, you have to produce and help the team to win games."
Cano has reached base safely in 18 of his first 21 games, and he believes his participation on the Dominican Republic squad in the World Baseball Classic -- for which he earned MVP honors -- was a factor in getting his year started on a positive note.
"I would say it helped a lot," he said. "When you're in Spring Training for those couple of weeks, you take three at-bats today, then you're off tomorrow, then you play the next day. [In the Classic you] have to just go out there and play from the first inning to the last, and play every game like it's the last game."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.