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The A’s try to change recent history against the Yankees

There’s a little extra buzz in the air tonight, which means the Yankees must be in town. It’s been a one-sided affair between these teams in recent seasons, with the A’s going 7-27 against New York since the start of 2008. They were swept in the Yanks’ only visit to the Coliseum last season, but the teams will play two series here this season.

I saw Reggie Jackson playing catch on the field in Yankee colors earlier. He’s been a special assistant with the team for years. It’s an odd sight to see one of the A’s biggest legends come back on occasion but always be in opposing colors. Reggie has such a heavy identity with both teams. He really needs to wear a split A’s/Yankees cap, sort of like those split A’s/Giants ones I used to see people wearing. Anybody out there have one of those?

On to the news … There’s some encouragement on the injury front for the A’s. Yoenis Cespedes took 28 swings in the batting cage today with Ariel Prieto throwing, and he will take batting practice on the field tomorrow for the first time since going on the DL. A’s manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes is likely to go on a minor league rehab assignment before being activated. When that begins depends on how he feels over the next couple of days. Does Melvin expect to get his cleanup hitter back during the next road trip? “There’s a chance, yeah,” Melvin said. I take that to mean we’re much more likely to see Cespedes during the Kansas City series next weekend as opposed to the Minnesota series, which begins Monday. There’s a day off Thursday, and I could see Cespedes playing a few minor league games to see how his strained left hand is doing, then joining the A’s next Friday in KC.

Cespedes is also awaiting a shipment of new bats, ones that are thicker at the bottom of the handle and at the knob. The hope is that the bats will keep him from wrapping the palm of his hand around the bottom of the bat. The A’s believe that grip is putting extra pressure on his hand and making him susceptible to injury. Using his regular bats, Cespedes has a tendency to wrap his hand around the bottom by habit. The question will be how he adjusts to the new grip on his new bats. That’s one reason a rehab assignment will probably come in handy (no pun intended).

–Manny Ramirez isn’t the only big name playing for Triple-A Sacramento tonight. Third baseman Brandon Inge was scheduled to play six innings to test his injured groin, and he’ll play nine innings Saturday. If all goes well, Melvin expects him to be activated from the D.L. on Monday.

Brandon McCarthy played catch today. He politely declined to give an update, saying he would address reporters in a couple of days after he does more throwing and gets a better read on his injured shoulder …

Here’s the lineups, with a player you might recognize handling DH duties for the visitors …

A’s – Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Reddick RF, Smith LF, Ka’aihue DH, Donaldson 3B, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Pennington SS; Ross RHP.

Yankees – Jeter SS, Granderson CF, Rodriguez 3B, Cano 2B, Teixeira 1B, Ibanez LF, Swisher RF, Chavez DH, Martin C; Nova RHP

Joe Stiglich