Cespedes starts at DH for series opener

MINNEAPOLIS — Yoenis Cespedes’ sprained left thumb didn’t keep him out of the starting lineup in Minnesota on Friday, but it did consign him to designated hitter duties.

“He probably could play the outfield, but we’ll try to take it slowly,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s a little bit more of an issue putting his glove on than it is wrapping around a bat and hitting. Whether or not he’s in the outfield tomorrow, there’s probably a good chance of that.”

Cespedes was pulled from Sunday’s game against the Mariners after the third inning, injuring his thumb when he slid into second on a successful stolen base attempt in the first frame. Jonny Gomes, who replaced him in the game, started in his stead in left field Friday.

The A’s recalled lefty reliever Pedro Figueroa from Triple-A Sacramento, as right-hander Jim Miller was placed on the paternity list.

Miller and his wife welcomed Ethan James, who weighed in at 8 pounds and 10 ounces, on Thursday. Under Major League Baseball’s paternity rules, which came into play last season, Miller is allowed to be away from the team for 24-72 hours.

Figueroa, meanwhile, joins the A’s for a third time this year and gives the team four left-handers in a bullpen that has allowed just one run in 23 innings spanning seven games in the month of July. The 26-year-old posted a 1.04 ERA in six appearances with Sacramento following his June 21 demotion and, overall, has a tidy 1.67 mark in 18 relief outings for the River Cats.

With the A’s, he has a 1.50 ERA in nine appearances, but he’s also walked 10 next to five strikeouts in 27 innings.

The signing period for all 2012 Draft picks concluded Friday, with the A’s reeling in second-round selection Nolan Sanburn before the deadline.

The University of Arkansas sophomore was one of Oakland’s two second-round picks, coming in at No. 74 overall. He went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 22 games, including four starts, for the Razorbacks, striking out 49 in 40 2/3 innings.

Oakland managed to sign 33 of their 43 picks, including each of the first five and 12 of the first 13. Third-round selection Kyle Tworney, a prep lefty, went unsigned.

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