Cano nominated for Clemente Award

Cano nominated for Clemente Award

SEATTLE -- Robinson Cano, who has made significant efforts to help underprivileged children in both the United States and his native Dominican Republic, was named the Mariners' nominee for the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award on Tuesday.

"It means a lot," Cano said. "We all know what kind of person he was on and off the field. For me, it's not only what you've done or what kind of numbers you put up, but to be nominated for such a big name like the Clemente Award, it's something as a player and person you have to take pride in yourself in a humbling way.

"There's stuff off the field, it's not my intention to be nominated, but you do things as a person coming from your heart."

This is the second straight year that Cano has been Seattle's representative for the award, which is the annual recognition of a player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

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"Certainly everyone knows what he brings to our clubhouse and what he does on the field," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Off the field, his involvement with different programs here and what he does in the Dominican, he's a pretty big figure and a great guy to represent our organization. You look through the list and every team has a guy they put up there, there's some really good people and he deserves to be in that group, no doubt."

Cano established the RC22 Foundation in 2011 to focus his efforts on youth development and community healthcare in the Dominican, and since signing with the Mariners, he has added support for Seattle area charities and causes such as Seattle Children's Hospital, Odessa Brown Clinic, City Year Seattle and the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County.

In 2015, Cano's RC22 Foundation opened a Montessori school in his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris in partnership with the Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring (DREAM) Project. The school provides high quality early childhood education for students ages 3-6 from an impoverished community.

The school also provides parenting programs and educational and vocational opportunities for community members. Since the school opened, 221 children have enrolled and 110 have graduated. Plans are underway to expand to serve other age groups.

The RC22 Foundation has also provided holiday gifts, educational tablets, bicycles and athletic equipment to thousands of children in the Dominican Republic, including the donation of more than 2,500 complete uniforms and baseball cleats to high-need youth baseball leagues.

The final Roberto Clemente Award winner will be selected by a blue-ribbon panel that includes Commissioner Rob Manfred, representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB Advanced Media, as well as Vera Clemente, the late Roberto's wife.

Fans will also have the chance to participate in the selection process by voting from Oct. 2-6.

Three Mariners have won the Clemente Award -- Harold Reynolds in 1991, Jamie Moyer in 2003 and Edgar Martinez in '04. Last year's winner was Curtis Granderson of the Mets.

More information on the award can be found at MLB.com/clemente.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.