Detroit Tigers add veteran presence in with trade for Mark Canha.
On a Zoom call on Sunday morning, Mark Canha, the newest addition to the Detroit Tigers roster, expressed enthusiasm about his reception within the organization. "They both seemed very excited to have me," Canha said, referring to his conversations with team officials. Appreciative of the warm welcome, Canha added, "It's nice to be wanted and have someone who appreciates me for who I am." Recognized for his distinctive style, Canha considers himself a "unique type of player" who fits a specific niche.
He acknowledged that not being as well known as some players might shape perceptions, but he feels validated by the respect he's received from those familiar with his career. "Scott knows what kind of player I am," said Canha, referencing his time in Oakland, before coming to the Detroit Tigers in the recent trade.
He also noted the familiarity with AJ Hinch, Detroit's manager, from his tenure in the AL West. Canha is comforted by the idea of joining an organization where there's mutual respect and understanding of his abilities, concluding, "It's nice to come into a situation where everybody knows me well and knows what to expect."
When asked about the role he could play as a veteran presence on a team with few seasoned players, Mark Canha offered a candid reflection on his approach to leadership. "I'm not overly vocal or try to do anything more than be who I am," said Canha, hoping his authenticity would influence his teammates positively. He believes the methodical nature of his at-bats could serve as an inspiration to others, a quality he's observed having an impact throughout his career.
Reflecting on his time with Milwaukee, Canha noted it was the first instance he felt like a veteran, providing guidance to younger players—a contrast to his earlier days with the Mets and the A's, where he was not among the most tenured. "I embraced it, and I liked doing it," Canha recalled of his mentorship role with the Brewers, taking pride in younger players looking up to him. He sees his daily conduct and professional mindset as vital to demonstrating longevity in the sport, implying that the way he handles himself and his work could be a model for longevity and professionalism in the game.
A constant work in progress
Canha shared insights into the evolution of his game, emphasizing a shift from a focus on swing mechanics to a more cerebral approach. "I had to get away from thinking about swing mechanics and think more about the mental approach," Canha explained. He recognized his early career aggression at the plate, a common trait among young players eager to prove their mettle. "Being an overly aggressive young player, I wanted to impress and do damage," he admitted. His solution was to reduce his swing frequency, a change sparked by video analysis and self-reflection.
This conscious decision to swing less marked a turning point for Canha. "I knew I wouldn't last doing what I was doing, and something had to change," he said, highlighting a moment of self-awareness that catalyzed his transformation into a more disciplined hitter. Canha credits this adjustment with the subsequent improvement in his on-base numbers and overall performance.
Beyond batting, Canha also spoke about his physical conditioning. Once an avid weightlifter, he has adapted his training regimen over the years. His active lifestyle is a year-round commitment, only taking a short break after the season ends. "I love working out, having a purpose, and getting to work," Canha said, attributing his work ethic to his career longevity.
Canha underscored the importance of a comprehensive approach to baseball, where mental preparedness and intelligent self-care are as crucial as physical talent. "It's a mental thing and mentally staying on top of everything," he concluded, signaling a holistic view of his profession that extends beyond the diamond.
Big League Food
Canha is already setting his sights on exploring the city's flavors, starting with a local staple. "I'm excited for Detroit pizza; see what that's all about," Canha said, eager to immerse himself in the local cuisine, including Yemeni food. His approach to a new city is one of total engagement. Reflecting on his time in Milwaukee, Canha mentioned how he and his family "dived right in" and fully embraced the local culture. His Instagram account, "bigleaguefoodie" has over 82K followers.
Canha plans to bring the same enthusiastic attitude to Detroit, intent on experiencing the city to the fullest. "We're going to embrace it and squeeze the most we can out of the experience," he affirmed. The excitement to integrate into the Detroit scene is clear, as he and his family anticipate discovering all that the city has to offer.