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CESPEDES BEGINS HIS ADVENTURE WITH THE ATHLETICS
Tue, 06 Mar 2012 05:38 PM EST

The 26-year-old Cespedes worked out with the Athletics for the 1st time. The slugging outfielder performed some agility drills to determine his vertical leap and took batting practice with Manny Ramirez and Cedric Hunter during a highly anticipated session in which he sprayed pitches to all fields and sent 2 keepsakes over the walls. Football spreads

He then shagged flies with Ramirez and signed autographs for fans on a day where there wasn’t a spring training game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, just a sight.

He will take batting training and focus on defensive drills over the following week or so as he tries to get up to speed with his colleagues who have been here for a 2 weeks. Football odds

Cespedes is projected to be ready for the majors right away; although the Athletics’ chopped spring agenda may put a crimp in that.

They depart Arizona on March 22 so that they can open the season in Japan on March 28 against Seattle.

Cespedes’ arrival gave manager Bob Melvin 16 outfielders that he has to find at-bats for during camp.

The most important question facing the Athletics is whether Cespedes will play left field or replace Coco Crisp in center. Crisp has stated that he desires to stay put, but that’s also Cespedes’ natural position, and the Athletics will wish to do anything they can to assist him feel relaxed as he acclimates to a new country and a higher level of competition.

“I am pleased to play wherever they ask me,” Cespedes said.

Melvin claimed he’ll have Cespedes do his drills from center field till he gets accustomed.

“It’s not a controversy at this moment,” Athletics CEO Billy Beane declared. “But I suspect eventually what Bob’s intending to do is put the greatest center fielder in center field and the top left fielder in left field, whoever which will be.”

The signing of Cespedes to a $36 million, 4-year agreement, the highest ever for a Cuban defector, is a genuine splash for a low-budget organization that shockingly beat some major-spending clubs for the slugging outfielder who starred for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, where he hit .458 with 2 home runs and 5 RBIs in 6 games.

After defecting from Cuba last fall, Cespedes trained with Edgar Mercedes, an agent and owner of the Born to Play baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.

He claimed he feels he can withstand the pains of a 162-game season as he always felt plenty strong after his 90-game seasons in Cuba were over. “So, that gives me the confidence to confront this challenge of playing a longer season.”

As for acclimating to a new surroundings off the field, Beane asserted the Athletics will match Cespedes with a mentor who will assist him learn English and adapt to his new environment.

Already, Ramirez, with a locker adjacent to Cespedes, has taken the newbie under his wing.

“I already conversed with him quickly this morning and he was extraordinarily friendly with me, inviting me to work together this spring training and to spend a while in the cage speaking about hitting,” Cespedes said.

He brushed off the idea that his big contract will put some stress on him, saying, “All I know is I need to play in any case. I’m here to play baseball. I am here to do my utmost, and to give 100 percent on the field irrespective of the money.”

He revealed he would very much like to hit fairly .280 but as far as power, all he had to assert was, “I anticipate good numbers.”


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