Insisting “(Robinson Cano’s struggles are a microcosm of everything that’s so far gone wrong with the Yankees this summer,” the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch writes off the Yankee 2B as being “on a long, flat road to nowhere, under-achieving at the ripe old age of 24.”

Cano’s curse is that he was so impressive in only his second year in the major leagues. It’s not just that Cano finished third in the American League in batting last year, it’s that he’d improved by 45 points from his rookie season.

No wonder scouts were touting Cano as the eventual No. 3 hitter in the Bombers’ lineup: His swing was full of power and grace, not to mention that ultra-hip quality that cannot be taught. If Cano could slam 15 homers so early in his career, imagine what he’d do with another 2-3 years of mentoring from Jeter.

“All the time,” is what general manager Brian Cashman said when asked if other executives were asking about Cano. At least they used to. These days, the phone lines are silent. No one’s seeking a trade for Cano. No one seems to be able to figure out who he is in 2007 “ whether he’s suffering through a delayed sophomore slump, or if he’s been infected by the malaise that permeates the rest of the lineup, or if Cano has, consciously or not, put his career on autopilot.

He sees only 3.37 pitches per plate appearance, the fewest among the Yankees. The majority of Cano’s at-bats are over in just one or two pitches. Call it anxiety or pressure — or fear of striking out — but Cano hacks at the first good pitch he sees, a philosophy that runs counter to the Yankees’ system-wide indoctrination.

Cano went 0 for 3 earlier today as Chad Gaudin and Rich Harden combined to one-hit the (defused) Bombers, in Oakland’s 7-0 win in the Bronx.  I’ve yet to watch a replay of Scott Proctor’s postgame antics, but even Paul Lo Duca thinks he overreacted.

The Rockies’ Jeff Francis, LaTroy Hawkins and Jeremy Afeldt collaborated on a 4-hit clean sheet against the Astros tonight, snapping Colorado’s 5 game losing streak. Not so conincidently, Brian Fuentes and his dripping cannisters of kerosene remained in the bullpen.