Cespedes ready to stabilize middle of A's lineup

Cespedes ready to stabilize middle of A's lineup

OAKLAND -- There's no exaggerating the type of influence Yoenis Cespedes has on the A's lineup when the numbers speak for themselves.

Since the slugger arrived in Oakland, the A's are 90-48 when he plays and just 17-32 when he doesn't. Most recently, they went just 4-10 while Cespedes was on the disabled list rehabbing his injured left hand.

So there was no denying the team's relief upon his return on Sunday, when he went 2-for-5 with a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth in Oakland's 10-inning win over the Orioles.

"Whenever you're playing the way we're playing," manager Bob Melvin said, "it's nice to get your No. 4 hitter back in the lineup."

That's exactly where Cespedes was for the club's final contest of a four-game set with the Orioles. To make room for him on the active roster, the A's designated outfielder Casper Wells for assignment -- just six days after acquiring Wells from the Blue Jays for $100,000.

Oakland has 10 days to trade Wells, release him or pass him through waivers. He's already been designated by three teams in the first month of the season.

"Unfortunately, [it's] a difficult month for him with what he's having to deal with on the business side of baseball," Melvin said. "But he's a good guy and he fit in well the short time he was here. If he were to get through [waivers], we'd certainly love to have him, because we value him. The other side of it is that you always want to see a guy potentially get a big league job, so I'm not sure how it's going to play out for him and his future here."

In the meantime, the A's will simply enjoy having a familiar face back in town.

"[Cespedes] takes pressure off everybody in the lineup," Melvin said. "Even when he's not swinging well, I think guys have less pressure on themselves. The other team is always aware of where he is, and therefore to have someone like that to impact the lineup, it helps everyone else out."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.