Cespedes returns to lineup as designated hitter

Cespedes returns to lineup as designated hitter

Cespedes returns to lineup as designated hitter
OAKLAND -- Yoenis Cespedes is no stranger to making adjustments at the Major League level, having done so plenty of times already while easing his way into the big league life.

On Wednesday, Cespedes faced yet another task, this one coming in the form of a new job at the designated hitter spot.

The slugger, who was limited to one at-bat in the past 10 games because of a strained left hamstring, went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored in the A's 4-1 win vs. the visiting Dodgers.

"He's never DH'd before, and that can be an acquired taste," manager Bob Melvin said. "It's basically pinch-hitting four times a game. He's going to have to find something to do to keep himself ready. That shouldn't be hard to do, but we'll ease into it, DH him today and then take it day to day as far as getting him out on the field."

By slotting Cespedes into the DH spot, the A's can reduce the pounding on his legs that would normally occur in the outfield. Staying loose between at-bats then becomes the issue, though Melvin noted Cespedes can preoccupy himself in the workout room when he's not at the plate.

"I've never been in that situation, not in the eight years I played in Cuba, never was the DH," Cespedes said through translator Ariel Prieto. "I played every single day on the field, because that's the way I liked it. I liked to be playing defense. Between at-bats, I was coming back here to the gym with the trainer to do work.

"I feel so good coming back to play, and I'm really, really happy, because we won against them."

Melvin was impressed with Cespedes' work ethic.

"One thing you worry about is pitch selection, whether or not he's prepared for the breaking ball after the layoff, but boy, he was on it," said Melvin. "It was pretty impressive to see a guy that was out in the fashion he had, coming in the DH role, kind of having to think about his injuries a little bit, to put together four at-bats like that was really nice to see."

Melvin's club is 21-16 with Cespedes in the lineup and 12-20 when he doesn't play.

"He's an important part of our lineup," Melvin said. "He's our No. 4 hitter. He drives in runs. You look at the record we have with him in the lineup, he's certainly a prevalent force in the middle of the lineup. It's good to get him back in the middle of the lineup, whether we're swinging the bats well or not."