Yoenis Cespedes takes batting practice, meets media; will he be ready for start of A’s season?

The A’s introduced outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the media on Sunday, but they are not saying whether he will be on the team’s opening day roster. Cespedes’ four-year contract became official Saturday, and there’s just three-plus weeks before the A’s open the regular season in Japan against the Mariners. That’s earlier than typical seasons.

Cespedes, speaking through translator Juan Navarrete, said he can be ready to play in exhibitions in five or six days. He was scheduled to do conditioning and take batting practice and do some outfield drills Sunday. “I expect he’ll see quite a bit of activity before the Japan series,” A’s general manager Billy Beane said. “Whether or not he’s on the active opening day roster remains to be seen. We’ll play that by ear.”

Cespedes said he’s eager to prove he’s up to the challenge of succeeding in the majors. One player he looks up to in particular is A’s teammate Manny Ramirez. The two talked extensively while hitting in the same batting practice group and then chatted more in the outfield.

Beane talked about the A’s willingness to give Cespedes, 26, a four-year $36 million contract. “He is a pretty unique physical talent,” Beane said. “You don’t see guys like this come along too often.”

Beane did not say whether he envisioned Cespedes or Coco Crisp playing center field.

Joe Stiglich