Sometimes batting practice provides the most entertaining moments of a day spent at the ballpark. Today, Yoenis Cespedes put on a show while making a just-for-fun appearance at shortstop. He took a couple dozen grounders and displayed a rocket of an arm throwing to first. And it wasn’t like he was trying to fire the ball. He was effortlessly flipping the ball over there, and it was about as strong of an arm as you’d see from any you major league shortstop. You could tell Cespedes was having fun, but he was getting into it. He was ranging right for balls and slinging it sidearm — on the money — to first. Then, he went over to second base and had Jemile Weeks flip him balls. By then, there was no one at first base, or we might have seen Cespedes turn the double play.
“I don’t know what kind of arm he has — it’s ridiculous,” Weeks said. “He was throwing off-balance from the hole.”
Cespedes certainly didn’t seem to show any ill effects from a sprained right wrist that sidelined him for two of the past three days. Bob Melvin indicated during his pregame media session that Cespedes could have played left field, but he him at DH tonight just to give him whatever rest he could while keeping his bat in the lineup.
Anyway, after Cespedes came off the field, he used some improving English to tell a couple of us he played a lot of shortstop in Cuba from age 10 to 16 before shifting to center field. He mixed a little bit of third base in there. Did he have fun today? “Yeah,” he said, his eyes lighting up.
Someone sitting in the dugout watching him cracked that the A’s had found the solution to their shortstop woes. I wouldn’t expect to see the A’s use their franchise outfielder at the most demanding position in the infield, but a scene such as today’s shows what an awesome overall talent he is.
Now, if the guy can just stay healthy …
–Speaking of shortstop, the A’s made a surprise call by activating Cliff Pennington from the disabled list. He’s not in the lineup today — Adam Rosales is playing against Angels lefty C.J. Wilson — but Melvin said the A’s needed another position player available off the bench. Pennington is likely to start against right-hander Zack Greinke on Wednesday. Pennington indicated a couple days ago his injured left elbow is fully recovered. Melvin said just yesterday that Pennington might play for Triple-A Sacramento through Wednesday, but the need for a deeper bench won out.
A’s — Crisp CF, Gomes LF, Reddick RF, Cespedes DH, Carter 1B, Inge 3B, Norris C, Rosales SS, Weeks 2B; Colon RHP.
Angels — Trout CF, Hunter RF, Pujols 1B, Trumbo LF, Morales DH, Callaspo 3B, Aybar SS, Izturis 2B, Wilson C; Wilson LHP.