Melvin: No plan to move Cespedes from left field
ARLINGTON — A seemingly misplayed ball in left field by Yoenis Cespedes that led to an A’s loss Friday in Texas isn’t reason to consider moving the rookie back to his regular center field spot, manager Bob Melvin said Saturday.
Melvin, in fact, didn’t exactly confirm the ball — hit off the bat of Craig Gentry with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning — was even catchable after watching video of the play, though others in the clubhouse said otherwise. Cespedes came in on the ball before racing back and watching it fly over his head.
“As he said, he came in,” Melvin said. “His first instinct was to come in. We had him a little bit shallower than we normally do in that situation, based on the fact we had the go-ahead run at second base. So I agree with the fact that maybe he doesn’t get it.”
After Friday’s game, when asked what type of read he got on the ball, Cespedes replied, “I didn’t do it the right way, but even if I read the ball well, I had no chance to catch it.”
He also said, “Maybe if I played left field all the time in my life before, maybe that’s not going to happen.”
Cespedes is a natural center fielder and has limited experience elsewhere, though the A’s felt comfortable moving him to left to accommodate Coco Crisp when he was reinstated from the disabled list at the beginning of the month.
Melvin said he has no plans of flip-flopping them again.
“I don’t even want to go down that road,” he said. “This is where we are right now. Anything’s possible in the game, but I don’t want to open this up and say the possibility is for him to go back to center field. This is the way we’re going to play it.
“We do know that there’s going to be a learning curve with him in left field. It’s not that easy to go from center field out to left field and just feel comfortable. There’s going to be some plays that may have some tougher reads, but we feel like all things considered, he’s got a chance to be a nice weapon for us in there, cutting runs off at the plate and keeping guys from going second to third and certainly third to home. It’ll be a work in progress, but he continues to work, and you’re going to have some plays like that from time to time.”
Cespedes, who was sidelined by a hamstring injury for much of the month, was back at designated hitter for Saturday’s contest, and Melvin said he’ll likely continue rotating him between there and left field on an every-other-day basis at least through the break.
“I’m not going to run him out four, five days in a row yet,” he said. “After the break we’ll probably feel more comfortable running him out there every day.”
Melvin said Bartolo Colon’s bullpen session went “very well” on Saturday, so it appears that as long as he comes to the park feeling good Sunday, he’ll be on track to start Tuesday, when he’s eligible to come off the DL. … Brandon Hicks received his second straight start at shortstop in Cliff Pennington’s stead. Melvin said Hicks is here to hit against left-handers, and he also applauded his middle infield talent. … After hitting a home run in his season debut with the A’s, Chris Carter was back in the lineup Saturday, batting sixth and playing first base.