Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes made his first appearance in the A’s clubhouse this morning, but don’t expect to see him on the field today. His four-year deal won’t be made official until he undergoes a physical, as he’s scheduled to do by day’s end. So A’s officials like manager Bob Melvin still can’t even comment on him until tomorrow, when Cespedes is expected to finally join the team for workouts and speak to the media. He’ll be wearing No. 52.
It will be interesting to watch Cespedes acclimate to his new surroundings and to big-league competition. Perhaps equally intriguing is how Melvin and Co. decide to work him into games in the early days and how intent they are on keeping him in center field (Coco Crisp has said he wouldn’t be in favor of moving to right). Also, do they hurry to get him the needed at-bats to start the season in the Majors? I initially believed that Cespedes would be on the Opening Day lineup, but considering he’s missed the first two weeks of camp, it’s hard to envision a guy who has never faced big-league pitching get the playing time needed in the next three weeks to be handed an everyday job by the time the team leaves for Japan.
Nevertheless, all of these questions will be addressed tomorrow, so in the meantime, a handful of other notes from around camp this morning:
- Melvin initially planned to start Manny Ramirez at DH tomorrow in Mesa, but instead he’s chosen to play Chris Carter there for the duration of the game and start Ramirez against the Angels at home on Monday in split-squad action.
- Josh Donaldson was kept in the game longer than any other player in Friday’s Cactus League opener, and Melvin said the aspiring everyday third baseman will see a lot of playing time over there during the next few weeks, as officials continue to evaluate his progress at the position.
- The closer job is still unsettled, and expect it to stay that way for awhile. Melvin said he won’t necessarily take into consideration the spring performances of Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes when making his decision, given the fact he’s already quite familiar with the veterans’ strengths, etc. And while Melvin said he hasn’t narrowed his decision down to those two guys, it would seem that they are the early favorites to land the role, though I’d keep an eye on Joey Devine. Ultimately, Melvin’s choice will be affected by the other moving pieces of the bullpen, and where needs lie in other innings. So, if he exits camp with just one lefty in Fuentes, for example, he would likely peg a righty as his closer to start the year.
Today the A’s head to Peoria for a rematch with the Mariners. Here are the lineups:
A’s: Weeks 2B, Cowgill CF, Smith LF, Gomes DH, Ka’aihue 1B, Donaldson 3B, Taylor RF, Recker C, Sogard SS (Ross SP)
Mariners: Figgins 3B, Ackley 2B, Suzuki RF, Smoak 1B, Carp LF, Olivo C, Peguero DH, Saunders CF, Ryan SS (Noesi SP)