From ESPN -
The New York Yankees told second baseman Robinson Cano to stop playing winter ball, his Dominican Republic team told ESPNdeportes.com on Thursday.
“The Yankees sent a letter to Cano to stop playing, but they didn’t offer many details or reasons,” said Alfredo Griffin, the Estrellas Orientales general manager.
Cano told Estrellas teammates, however, that the Yankees didn’t want him to aggravate a calf injury that is still healing.
The Dominican winter league baseball tournament began its round-robin playoff series Wednesday. Cano hit .389 in nine games during the regular season. He was hitless in his first postseason game Wednesday.
Around five years ago, I thought there was a rule that allowed big league teams to prevent players under contract from playing winter ball.
If I recall correctly, major league clubs could prohibit native-born Latin players from participation in the winter leagues based on injury, illness or extreme fatigue. And, on that last item, it was basically a catch-all that meant any player who played a full season (in the majors, minors, or some combination) could be held out of the winter leagues.
Maybe that rule went away? I dunno. But, if not, and I’m the Yankees, I wouldn’t let anyone play during the winter – unless they were a prospect and needed seasoning. Why risk injury if you can avoid it?