How an ex-Yankee helped another ex-Yankee stick it to Y…

When the Red Sox roll into Yankee Stadium on Friday, a familiar face will greet Yankees fans: Eduardo Nunez.

While it’ll be easy to recognize the former Yankees farmhand and utility infielder, few will recognize the player that Nunez has become since departing the Bronx in a trade. Weeks after landing with the Red Sox during a trade deadline deal, Nunez is helping to spark Boston and change the AL East race.

At first glance, it’s easy to criticize Yankees general manager Brian Cashman for giving up on a player that’s become a valuable piece for the Twins, Giants and now Red Sox. But the Yankees likely didn’t realize another former Bronx Bomber would help Nunez become something more than he ever was in New York.

As Nunez detailed to The Boston Globe, offseason hitting work with Robinson Cano changed his career and trajectory.

After an uneven first two seasons with the Twins, Nunez sought the advice of former Yankees teammate Robinson Cano, by then a six-time All-Star. Cano told Nunez to change how he prepared for the season, to work harder in the winter and turn his athletic ability into more consistent production at the plate.

Cano invited Nunez to join him at his facility in San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic for workouts. His father, former major league pitcher Jose Cano, ran the operation.

“I had always worked out in my hometown and I thought I was doing what I needed to do,” Nunez said. “But Cano, he’s such a great player. I knew I had to listen to him. There were a lot of benefits being around him and his dad.”

The work paid off.

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Nunez enters play on August 11 with a .324 average and .819 OPS this season. That includes an eye-popping .420 average since landing in Boston last month.

If Nunez has a big weekend to spur the Red Sox to a commanding division league, Cano’s tutelage will come back to haunt the Yankees again.

Joe Giglio may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JoeGiglioSports. Find on Facebook.

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