Robinson Cano stumps for MVP

NEW YORK -- One candidate in the American League MVP race sticks out to New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.

"MVP is tough right now, you got a lot of guys, but I would give my vote to myself," Cano said. "You can see the numbers. I'm batting fifth in the lineup, I've been there the whole year and why not me? My numbers are there and you guys got to decide that. I hope I get your guys vote."

The second baseman gave his opinion on the MVP race after he and his father, Jose Cano, spoke to a group of approximately 50 Hispanic children from middle schools Thursday. The event was part of a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the MLB Fan Cave in Manhattan, and Cano later played stickball in the streets with the children.

After finishing third in the MVP voting last season, the highest finish of his career, Cano appears to be a in a pretty wide-open race this season.

The Detroit Tigers boast two candidates in Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. The Boston Red Sox offer Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez for consideration. Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is right in the mix. And then there's Cano's teammate, Curtis Granderson.

Josh Hamilton won the award for the Texas Rangers last season.

Cano is batting .305 with 27 home runs and 116 RBIs on the year. He's tied with Gonzalez for second in the league in RBIs, behind Granderson, and is eighth in average. Cano also has scored 101 runs, tied for seventh with Pedroia, and has 80 extra-base hits.

The 80 extra-base hits are the most in baseball and the only category where he leads the other position player candidates.

In addition to RBIs, Cano lags behind his teammate Granderson in two key categories. Granderson leads all of baseball in runs scored and is second in the AL with 41 homers.

"Curtis has been unbelievable for us," Cano said.

Verlander, the only pitcher who appears to have a chance, has gained steam in the MVP race by rattling off 12 straight wins, but Cano specifically said he'd crown himself instead of the Tigers ace. Verlander is 24-5 with a 2.29 ERA on the season.

"I would give it to myself too. He's had a great year. He's been good," Cano said with a laugh when asked about him against Verlander. "He's won what, 13 in a row, 12? That's something, you have to tip your hat to that guy."

Jose Cano didn't outright say his son should be the MVP, but he hopes his son at least has a chance.

"If he thinks he's going to be the MVP. I think he knows more than me," Jose Cano said. "He's got good numbers this year ... so he got a chance to be MVP. Last year (he) was in third place and hopefully this year he'll be in the same group. Every year you're in the best group, you thank God for everything."

One way Cano could help his cause would be to lead the league in RBIs at the end of the year. With seven games left in the season, there's time for the second baseman to make up the deficit.

"Why not? You always want to be the best so why not," Cano said. "You always want to be the best and if you want to be the best, you want to be on top."

Cano said locking up the division title Wednesday allows the Yankees to rest their pitchers. He said the team feels good about likely hosting a playoff game next Friday.

The Yankees are either going to face Detroit, Texas or Los Angeles in the division series and Cano said he has no preference.

"We face anyone and we don't care," Cano said. "Like I said, it's playoffs, it's about best-of-5. You don't know, someone can give you a lot of surprise and we're ready for it and we can't wait to get there."

Matt Ehalt is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.