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Jemile Weeks held out of A’s lineup with hip strain

The A’s are throwing a scrambled lineup on the field today against Vin Mazzaro, the former Oakland pitcher who starts the series finale for the Royals …

A’s: Cowgill LF, Pennington SS, Reddick RF, Cespedes CF, Ka’aihue 1B, Inge 3B, Smith DH, Donaldson C, Rosales 2B; Milone LHP.

KC: Gordon LF, Giavotella 2B, Butler DH, Francoeur RF, Betancourt 3B, Hosmer 1B, Pena C, Escobar SS, Dyson CF; Mazzaro RHP.

It’s no surprise to see Jemile Weeks sitting after he strained his left hip yesterday. Manager Bob Melvin said Weeks is available off the bench, but I really doubt we’ll see him at all. We’re talking about one of the A’s cornerstone players for the future, and a guy who has a history of hip issues from his minor league days. That history factored into the decision to rest him, Melvin acknowledged. So Collin Cowgill gets a look in the leadoff spot.

–Josh Donaldson gets his first start at catcher this season in order to give Kurt Suzuki a day off. It’s hard to believe, but Melvin has never seen Donaldson behind the plate in a game. Donaldson spent all of last season at Triple-A, and the A’s hadn’t even started playing exhibitions this spring when Scott Sizemore got hurt and Donaldson was shifted to third base. Watch how he and Tommy Milone work together behind the plate today …

–Melvin confirmed that Manny Ramirez left Sacramento’s game after one at-bat last night with more tightness in his left leg. I think it’s pretty clear this guy won’t be joining Oakland for a while. As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, I’m not sure it makes sense to call him up on the upcoming four-game homestand when the A’s will be playing six games in National League parks –without a D.H. available – right after that. Melvin said that issue wouldn’t factor heavily into whether Ramirez comes up, but he acknowledged the timing isn’t ideal right now. As it is, Ramirez’s stats aren’t prompting the A’s to rush him up.

–I saw outfield coach Tye Waller talking to Yoenis Cespedes in center field before batting practice, with Ariel Prieto translating. Cespedes is returning to center for a day as Coco Crisp gets a day off, but he’ll still be getting most of his time in left. We’ve seen in the past two days that it’s been a rough adjustment so far, based on the way he’s misjudged a couple balls. The A’s will be patient with Cespedes defensively. Melvin said he’ll get some extra outfield work on the homestand, reading balls off the bat, fielding balls coming at him from different angles. Let’s be realistic: The A’s didn’t sign Cespedes to be a Gold Glove outfielder. They signed him to be a run producer in the middle of the lineup, and they’ve seen some encouraging results with that. If he can develop into a serviceable outfielder, who affects a base runner’s decision-making with his strong arm, and he becomes a force offensively, the A’s will take that in a heartbeat.

I’d also expect Cespedes to improve greatly with the glove. One, he’s a gifted athlete who has the physical tools to be a good outfielder. Two, he’s shown a strong work ethic and the ability to be a quick learner since he’s been with the A’s. So watch his development. And keep in mind that, as long as he’s not costing the A’s games with defensive mistakes, it’s his offense that determines his value at this point …

–I didn’t get to Jack Stack Barbecue on this trip — that’s my favorite rib joint in Kansas City — but Seasons 52 is a great restaurant. Check it out if you’re ever in town. And if you live in the Phoenix area, they also have one in the Biltmore hotel. Good menu, good atmosphere, and they have a piano player/singer set up right in the middle of the circular bar.

Points for innovation …

Joe Stiglich

  • Stan

    He should be doing hip exercises with a rubber band like thing…you walk sideways to build up strength. Don’t the players ever want to do exercises?

  • Stan

    Yeah well,Melvin’s timing for his players “to rest” hasn’t been good.
    Interesting how after a while you spot a persons idiosyncrasy’s. On the other side of the bay Bochy cant call a pitch-out worth a damn OR spot a suicide squeeze a com’in from the other team. Amazing.