Cespedes would be most comfy not being A’s DH

PHOENIX – The arrival of Chris Young has given the A’s a multitude of riches in the outfield, but there are problems, too, at least from the vantage point of Yoenis Cespedes.

Manager Bob Melvin is talking about using his projected four-man outfield – Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp in addition to Cespedes and Young – in sort of a rotation with the odd man out serving as the DH.

Cespedes does not want to be the DH. Not never, mind you, but only when he needs a day off for health or injury reasons. Other than that the center fielder-turned-left fielder wants to be left in left.

“As a player, to be the DH, I don’t like it too much,’’ Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto Sunday morning before the club’s first full workout. “If I’m hurt, that’s the only way I like it, to pick up some days as the DH.’’

A center fielder to start the 2012 season after leaving Cuba to play ball in the U.S., Cespedes played 46 games in center, mostly in the first half of the year, and 56 games in left field, mostly in the second half of the season. He also had 26 starts as a DH.

He had his best batting (.320) and slugging (.592) percentages while the DH, however much he may dislike not being in the field, but his best on-base percentage (.382) as the left fielder, the position he has coming into spring training.

“Left field, right field, it doesn’t matter,’’ Cespedes said. “I’ll be the catcher or the shortstop, even pitch.’’

Clearly being on the field is a priority, maybe the priority, for Cespedes.


John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.