OAKLAND – Yoenis Cespedes was back in the A’s lineup Tuesday, looking and sounding better after a stomach ailment knocked him from Monday night’s game after four innings.
The outfielder described his condition Monday night in interesting fashion.
“My stomach was all upside down,” Cespedes said through translator Manolo Hernandez Douen.
A’s manager Bob Melvin smiled when he heard that description.
“Yeah, it was upside down a couple times actually -- in that bathroom,” Melvin said, pointing to the restroom just to the right of the A’s bench. “We gotta make sure that Purell dispenser has refills.”
Right now the A’s outfield depth is pretty sickly, so Cespedes’ availability Tuesday against the Texas Rangers was important. With Coco Crisp, Chris Young and Josh Reddick all on the disabled list, Cespedes is the only player on the 25-man roster with substantial center field experience.
He also leads the team in home runs (7) and anchors the middle of the lineup, so his bat is mighty important too.
Inserting Moss at center field in the fifth inning Monday after Cespedes departed was “not ideal,” in Melvin’s words, but he praised Moss’ versatility. The slugger was strictly an outfielder until the A’s shifted him to first base early last season while he was with Triple-A Sacramento.
Moss is now Oakland’s primary first baseman, but with all the injuries in the outfield, he’s been used plenty in right field lately.
“It’s amazing that he’s handled every position that we’ve thrown at him,” Melvin said. “Like right field. He had not played it for a while. He was exclusively at first base and then you put him out in right field and he looks like a natural out there. He’s just a good athlete, he moves well, and he’s confident wherever he is defensively. If ever you were gonna put a guy out of position, he’s the guy to do it with.”
--Crisp (strained left hamstring) still looks on target to come off the D.L. on Wednesday, the first day he’s eligible to be activated. Melvin was remaining cautious, saying he wanted to see how Crisp got through his workouts Tuesday before taking anything for granted.
Young (strained left quadriceps) played in another extended spring training game in Phoenix on Tuesday. He’s scheduled to join the A’s on Wednesday, but considering he felt a bit of discomfort while playing Monday, Melvin maintained that Friday is the more likely target for Young to be activated.
Left-hander Brett Anderson threw off the mound Tuesday and took part in fielding drills. His sprained right ankle held up well, but Melvin still didn’t give a day for Anderson to rejoin the rotation. He’s eligible to be activated Thursday, which is a day off for Oakland.
One last injury update: Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima (strained left hamstring) played his third game in a row for Sacramento. He is scheduled for a day off Wednesday and then will play four games in a row. He’s been on the D.L. all season.
“We want to make sure he gets plenty of at-bats and plays plenty of games to where he doesn’t feel the hamstring,” Melvin said. --A’s pitchers were put through fielding drills before batting practice, running through bunt coverages and other defensive work.
It’s rare for major league teams to conduct team-wide fielding practice during the regular season, but the A’s do it about once a month.
“It’s good to do just to kind of refresh,” Melvin said. “Whether it’s bunt plays or whether it’s just fielding your position, or whether we’re not doing it as well as we’d like, which to this point has been the case. All those reasons would suggest why we had a day like we did today.”