OAKLAND -- Just as Yoenis Cespedes is making his way through the language barrier, so, too, are his teammates and coaches.
The Spanish-speaking Cespedes, adjusting to his new life with help from Ariel Prieto, is without his interpreter in the dugout during games, making communication during that time a challenge. Luckily, hitting coach Chili Davis knows enough to at least ensure there is some.
"I'm not fluent, but I'm learning as I go," Davis said. "Throughout the years of Minor League baseball, Major League baseball and winter ball, I've learned how to communicate to a certain extent. I stumble on a few words and sentences, but if I take the time to try to slow down and think about what I'm trying to say, I can do all right. Ariel has helped me a lot."
When necessary, Davis can find Prieto nearby in the clubhouse, where he often escapes to in search of the right verbiage. The biggest trial, he says, comes in expressing the intensity with which he wants to get his point across. Still, some Spanish is better than none.
"I think 90 percent of the Spanish I've learned has come from baseball -- either baseball, or my housekeeper at home," Davis said, laughing. "But my job is to communicate, anyway, so it helps a lot."
"From what I hear, he sounds fluent to me," manager Bob Melvin said of Davis. "So he's the one who's talking to him during the games."
And it's first-base coach Tye Waller, standing on the front step of the dugout while the A's are on defense, who's pointing Cespedes around the outfield, with scouting reports on each hitter in mind. Helping him make the right adjustments, then, has been a collaboration of sorts.
"I think we're all developing a good relationship with him," Davis said. "We have to allow him the time to make those adjustments, just like any other player who comes up. A lot of times we expect so much more of him because of his ability that we fail to notice the progression he's already gone through.
"I'm just soaking it up right now, soaking up Yoenis Cespedes."
Ka'aihue happy to still be in mix at first base
OAKLAND -- Brandon Allen's name was taken off the roster upon Daric Barton's return from the disabled list on Monday, forcing the question: Is Kila Ka'aihue next to go?
It's a strong possibility, given that both Barton and Ka'aihue are left-handed hitters, and the A's are already equipped with plenty of other bats on the bench. They'll need to recall a fifth starter next week and, when they do so, will have to make a decision on Ka'aihue, who is off to a 3-for-8 start.
Ka'aihue said on Monday that he knew he could have been the one packing his bags when Barton was reinstated from the DL and said he wasn't sure "what went into their decision," but is grateful he's still around.
"While I'm here, I'm going to continue to try to do my best," he said. "I've just been trying to make the most of my opportunity, and I feel like I've done that. I'm putting together good at-bats."
Manager Bob Melvin said Monday's decision between Allen and Ka'aihue came down to offensive performance, and he is expected to use Ka'aihue off the bench as a pinch-hitter and at first base when Barton needs to rest his shoulder.
Should the A's choose at some point to designate Ka'aihue, who is out of options, Melvin has said he is comfortable with Josh Donaldson as a backup first baseman.
Devine scheduled to undergo elbow surgery
OAKLAND -- The A's on Monday evening announced that reliever Joey Devine will undergo right elbow surgery on Tuesday, with more detailed information to come following the procedure.
Dr. James Andrews, who performed Tommy John surgery on Devine in 2009, will do this procedure in Pensacola, Fla.
Devine, 28, has made just 26 big league appearances since the Tommy John operation. He endured three spring outings early on in camp this year before flexor tendon tendinitis sidelined him again.
"He was as effective a pitcher as any when I first got here," manager Bob Melvin said. "It really looked like he was back to form last year. And now he has to undergo surgery, which is very disappointing certainly for him, but also for us."
Jonny Gomes, who did not start Monday against Kansas City righty Luis Mendoza, is likely to garner the final two starts of the three-game series at designated hitter. The Royals are scheduled to throw out a pair of southpaws for those contests, and Gomes has a pretty decent resume against Kansas City. In 25 career games vs. the Royals, he is batting .347 with 12 home runs and 22 RBIs.