Wilson welcomes challenge of facing hard-hitting Cano

Wilson welcomes challenge of facing hard-hitting Cano

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Left-handed hitters don't typically do very well against Angels southpaw C.J. Wilson, but Robinson Cano -- the $240 million second baseman who now resides in the American League West -- is a big exception.

In 40 career plate appearances against Wilson, including the regular season and playoffs, Cano has a .389/.450/.611 slash line. This year, they'll face each other a lot more than they're used to.

"It's a good challenge," Wilson said. "Robbie's one of the best hitters in baseball, and I like him. He's a great guy."

Wilson and Cano joked around in the outfield prior to Saturday's game at Peoria Sports Complex, a 5-3 Mariners victory that ended in the seventh inning due to heavy rain. Cano asked Wilson take it easy on him, and Wilson obliged by throwing him a 2-0 fastball right down the middle that Cano fouled off.

"What more do you want?" Wilson told Cano after his spring debut was over.

"That's the fun part of the game," Wilson said, "going up against the best guys and challenging them."

Wilson struck out Cano looking in his first and only encounter with the Mariners' new superstar, ending a first inning that saw the Angels' No. 2 starter strike out the side. Wilson frequently missed his spots in the second, allowing two runs while facing seven batters, then came out for the third, gave up a leadoff single to Xavier Avery and left the game -- with Cano waiting on deck.

"It's like [Mike] Trout," Wilson said of facing Cano. "If he hits a single against you and doesn't steal second base, you're like, 'That's kind of a victory.' If you don't let him drive in any runs, then you're OK."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.