Trevor Bauer, Robinson Cano performances add twist to Yankees’ ‘insane’ Mexico City trip

MEXICO CITY — A few hours before the Yankees and Diablos Rojos del Mexico squared off in an exhibition game Sunday, manager Aaron Boone had to answer for why his club didn’t bring all of its stars.

The Yankees had Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Volpe, Jose Trevino and Oswaldo Cabrera, plus relievers Victor Gonzalez and Jonathan Loaisiga.

Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 against the Yankees on Sunday. AFP via Getty Images

Staying back in Tampa for various reasons, though, were Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, the entire rotation and more to finish out spring training.

But a few hours later, even before the first pitch was thrown, the atmosphere inside Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú lifted the game to another level.

The Diablos Rojos’ 4-3 win over the Yankees was a three-hour party filled with nonstop chants, horns, music and a lively sellout crowd of 20,735 that dwarfed anything the Yankees might have experienced back in the Grapefruit League.

“The atmosphere exceeded everything [I expected],” Volpe said after the game.

“It was pretty awesome out there, man,” added Stanton, an avid traveler who was one of the proponents of playing in Mexico City after seeing a Bad Bunny concert at a soccer stadium — which had an “insane” atmosphere — here two years ago.

The Yankees’ first games in Mexico since 1968 — when a Mickey Mantle-led roster faced Diablos Rojos — came at a less-than-ideal time, just a few days from Opening Day and most of their unsettled roster staying back in Tampa to complete spring training.

But those that did make the trip relished the environment, even if they were feeling the effects of playing at the high altitude (though the baseballs did not fly after being kept in a humidor to offset the thin air).

“What a great experience,” Boone said. “So much energy, so much fun for us to all experience baseball in this environment.”

“It didn’t feel like a spring training game,” Trevino said. “I felt like it was a game-game.”

Trevor Bauer, who has not pitched in MLB since serving a 194-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, started the game for Diablos Rojos and threw three shutout innings.

Trevor Bauer threw three scoreless innings against the Yankees on Sunday. AP

But it turned into what Boone called “The Robinson Cano Show,” as the former Yankees second baseman went 3-for-4 with a home run, double and two RBIs with his new team.

The 41-year-old Cano spent much of pregame Sunday catching up with Yankees personnel — he mentioned a few times thinking about the “good old days” — and then caught the ceremonial first pitch from former teammate and Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera.

Cano hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2022 — a year after he was suspended 162 games for a second violation of MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy — when he split time among the Mets, Padres and Braves.

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But the left-handed slugger had a simple reason for why he is still playing.

“Because I love baseball,” he said. “People don’t understand that sometimes. It’s easy to tell someone, ‘Just go retire.’ But I think as long as I can do it and I can play and I can be on the field, I can do it.”

As for Bauer, he said the chance to pitch against the Yankees played a part in his decision to sign with Diablos Rojos, for whom he will spend at least the next month pitching.

He has offered to sign with an MLB team for the league minimum but has not yet gotten any takers.

“I have no idea what the future is going to hold,” said Bauer, who pitched last season in Japan. “I know I like playing baseball. I wanted to play. I love the international baseball. I wouldn’t mind staying here; I wouldn’t mind playing in Japan. I’d like to play in the big leagues again. … We’ll see.”

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