PHOENIX -- The wait could soon be over.
There's a strong possibility that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will make his highly-anticipated arrival at A's camp by weekend's end, nearly three weeks after news broke of his four-year, $36 million contract.
"There's no reason not to think he won't be here very soon," A's general manager Billy Beane said Wednesday.
Cespedes, who has been living in the Dominican Republic after defecting from Cuba last year, has been waiting to obtain a work visa before joining the A's and undergoing a physical, at which point his deal will finally be deemed official.
It appears his visa paperwork is being processed without any issues, and that the three-week waiting period is rather normal. Still, Cespedes will have missed at least two weeks of camp by the time he reports.
It was thought that the A's, who open Cactus League play Friday against the Mariners, would immediately pencil Cespedes into an everyday outfield spot, likely center. But considering the time he's been away from the team, it's becoming more of a possibility that he may start the season at the Triple-A level.
Beane, family enjoy Oscars experience
PHOENIX -- Billy Beane was slightly confused when he and his family were brought to their seats at Hollywood's Kodak Theater for the Academy Awards on Sunday.
"We get to the fourth row," the A's general manager said, "and I say to the usher, 'Are you sure these are our seats?'"
The short version of the usher's response: Yes.
And though Beane watched "Moneyball" -- the film inspired by Michael Lewis' book about the A's 2002 season -- go winless in six nominations, he was simply happy to be part of such a prominent event, while sitting close by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Bo Derek.
"It was great," said Beane, who brought along wife Tara and daughter Casey. "From the start, everyone involved with it, from Sony to the actors to the directors, everyone was absolutely fantastic, very unpretentious, and I couldn't be more grateful for everything. It was fun. We had a great time."
At one point in the night, Beane and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow were brought together for a picture. Casey posed for a few with Brad Pitt, nominated for a "Best Actor" Oscar for his portrayal of Beane, and even posed with Angelina Jolie, per her own request.
"Angelina said, 'I want a picture with Casey,' which was really sweet," Beane said. "She was just incredibly gracious."
Beane's night concluded at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party, which is always attended by stars of all stature.
"It's like going to a high school party, but it's not your party," he said.
Donaldson looking to fill third-base vacancy
PHOENIX -- While Josh Donaldson sat in the A's clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon resting from a lengthy day of workouts at third base, A's general manager Billy Beane stood not too far away, reiterating that the club will indeed give Donaldson every chance to win the open job at the hot corner in Scott Sizemore's absence.
"He came up as a third baseman, and we spoke in a bit of irony during our Spring Training meetings, talking about his third-base play, not realizing we would need it," Beane said. "When I heard about Scott, we kind of had a feeling pretty quickly it wasn't good. We're kind of excited to see how Josh does, because we've always thought highly of him. All reports on his defense were good, even leading up to this."
The A's only expect it to get better. Donaldson is working extensively at the position with infield coach Mike Gallego, both during normal workout hours and outside of that time. He's expected to see his first game action of the spring there Friday, when the A's open their Cactus League schedule against the Mariners.
Should the A's feel the need to look for extra help by Opening Day, it appears they'll stay away from the free-agent market and, instead, target trade possibilities. Some intriguing names that might pop up include the Angels' Alberto Callaspo and Detroit's Brandon Inge.
But Donaldson remains at the top of the list -- at least for now -- in the wake of Sizemore's season-ending ACL injury.
"I feel terrible for him," Beane said of Sizemore. "He had finally gotten a chance to play every day in the Major Leagues, and we really thought this was the chance for him to break out. From a team standpoint, this was the last thing we were thinking about. We felt more than comfortable with Scott being over there, so to start over is a little bit of a downer."
Right-hander Graham Godfrey will start Friday's Cactus League opener against the Mariners at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, with lefty and fellow rotation candidate Tommy Milone slated to follow. Both won't pitch more than two innings.
Grant Balfour, Joey Devine, Fautino De Los Santos, Jordan Norberto, Erick Threets and Pedro Figueroa are also scheduled to pitch that day. As for the lineup, manager Bob Melvin is expected to field most of his regulars.
Veteran righty Bartolo Colon is right on schedule for his March 29 regular-season start in Japan. Colon threw twice Wednesday at ease, prompting Melvin to say, "If there's ever a guy you don't have to worry about knowing himself and getting himself ready and understanding the parameters of getting ready early, it's him."
Melvin is turning batting practice into quite the competition these days. The A's skipper was looking for payback Wednesday when throwing to the trio of Jonny Gomes, Seth Smith and Collin Cowgill which, days before, hit him pretty good.
This time around, Melvin said, "I won, 8-2. They didn't tell you that?" No, but probably because it was the other way around in reality, with several balls leaving the yard during their session with the manager.
"But I only count the ones I see," Melvin said. "It was a good day for me. Pitchers are ahead right now, hitters are behind. At some point in time, they'll start swinging the bats better. When they go home tonight, they're going to hang their heads a bit."
Cowgill laughed when hearing Melvin's playful remarks, responding, "I don't know what he's seeing out there."