DH role suits Cespedes well
Any questions about Yoenis Cespedes’ ability in the designated hitter role have been put to rest, and it appears the rookie’s production from the spot could lead to intermittent starts there even when he’s completely healthy.
Still nursing back a strained left hamstring, Cespedes made his third straight start at DH for Friday’s series opener against the Giants, having gone 3-for-8 in his previous two games there, one of those hits being a walk-off, three-run homer in Thursday’s win.
Cespedes appears to be nearing a return to the outfield, but manager Bob Melvin confirmed the slugger won’t completely be stripped of DH duties when he does.
“I think that’s an option with everybody, yeah,” he said. “It allows us to incorporate more guys and rest guys, as the season goes along. We’re coming up to the halfway point, and at this point, guys aren’t always healthy.
“The one thing I was a little bit concerned about was him not DH’ing before, but he seems to be doing OK with that. It gives us the opportunity to make sure he’s 100 percent when he goes back out there.”
Cespedes, who is batting .341 with runners in scoring position, entered Friday ranked second among American League rookies in RBIs (30) and third in home runs (7), doubles (9) and extra-base hits (17).
The A’s, who entered Friday just two games below the .500 mark for the first time since May 25, are eager to even out their record, something they haven’t done since May 22. But Melvin wants to make sure his team knows that’s not the end goal.
“I think, once you’re close to it, you have to set your goals a little higher and say, ‘Can we get past it? Ahead of it?’” he said. “If all you’re looking to do is play .500, typically you’ll get there and kind of stall out. Once you get to .500, you’d like to set a higher standard and get over it. So it would be big for us to get there and try to move forward.”