OAKLAND – Yoenis Cespedes was back in the Oakland A’s lineup Friday, but the left fielder will be relegated to designated hitter duties for the next few days to rest his ailing right shoulder.
Cespedes sat out Thursday after getting a cortisone shot in his shoulder. He’s been used primarily at DH in recent days after injuring his throwing shoulder while trying to make a diving catch on the last homestand.
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According to A’s manager Bob Melvin, Cespedes has yet to try throwing to test the shoulder.
“He’s good enough to DH,” Melvin said. “I’m not sure when we’re comfortable with him throwing yet, so it might be at least a few days that he’s DH’ing.”
Cespedes hit .237 or lower in each of the first five months of the season, but he’s batting .365 (23 for 63) with four homers in 17 games in September, and his 15 RBI this month are tied for second most in the American League. **
Nate Freiman, who for most of this season has started at first base against left-handed pitchers, is battling a strained muscle in his abdomen that has affected his playing time.
“He would have been there maybe today or (Saturday), but we’re not able to get him in there,” Melvin said. “He hasn’t taken batting practice for a few days because of that, so we’re not sure when we’ll get him back.”
But Melvin also acknowledged that matchups and the need for defense factors into who plays first. Daric Barton is a stronger defender than Freiman, and Barton is in Friday’s lineup against Minnesota lefty Andrew Albers.