Wild and crazy morning here with A’s ownership firing a shot over the bow of the media with an official statement on their territorial rights standing and much-ballyhooed Cuban acquisition Yeonis Cespedes launching a shot over the wall at Papago Park in his first at-bat against live pitching.
The A’s statement, which can be read here http://bit.ly/ythW9Q, is about as coherent as the link. It came out of the blue, although clearly it was directed at the loosely written report in the New York Daily News over the weekend by columnist Bill Madden that Major League Baseball is on the verge of reinforcing the Giants’ territorial rights to San Jose and the South Bay, which prevent the A’s desired move there.
The statement really had nothing to offer other than to maintain they’ve been reassured by MLB that no decision has been made and no vote has been taken, something MLB already did in the wake of the NY Daily News story by columnist Bill Madden. The statement went on to reiterate all the things they’ve been saying for three years about why they need to move. Very cryptic.
So what’s to read from this? Good question, but there’s no doubt there is a hint of desperation simply in issuing this kind of statement. The A’s were clearly disturbed by the Daily News report, especially after Madden defended his piece by saying he talked to several sources on the Bay Area territorial rights issue. As our columnist Tim Kawakami remarked on Twitter, the random release was very “Raider-like.” Exactly.
Because I had to craft a quick story on the statement, I missed the first couple of at-bats by Cuban phenom Yeonis Cespedes over at the Papago Park minor-league facility. But Cespedes apparently put on a show. He homered in his first AB of a simulated game, looking at a handful of pitches before taking T.J. Walz, an A’s middle-round draft pick in 2011, over the left-field wall.
In his second at-bat, Cespedes lined a sharp single to left, and in his third, took a called third strike against Walz. In his fourth AB, he singled through the hole between third and short against another farmhand, Jonathan Joseph, and finally, hit two mile-high pops in his final plate appearance, one which dropped between two outfielders and the second caught off first base. So for lack of an official scorer on the premises, Cespedes was either 3-for-5 or a cheaper 4-for-6. I’d go with the former. Whatever, it was impressive, even for a simulated BP session.
Cespedes looked very happy with his session. He was smiling broadly and accepting high-fives from coaches and teammates, among them Manny Ramirez, who also took some live hacks. Ramirez was supposed to play in Wednesday’s afternoon game against the Dodgers at Phoenix Muni, but scratched just before gametime with back stiffness.
Manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes may have two or three more sessions against live pitching and probably wouldn’t play before the weekend, but that could be accelerated based on what the young man showed Wednesday. We’ll see.
Elsewhere, just some minor stuff. Adam Rosales (shoulder tendinitis) took BP for the first time and could play in a game Thursday. Possible he may have stated this already before I got here, but manager Bob Melvin said Josh Donaldson will get the first crack at winning the third base job.
Just a reminder, I’ll be conducting a live chat on all things A’s tonight at 7 p.m. Go to any Bay Area News Group site or simply click on this link bit.ly/wNh58X to be guided to the chat.