03/25/12 11:44 AM ET
Leg cramp forces Cespedes to exit early
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
Cespedes took in four at-bats before his departure, going hitless with two strikeouts. Manager Bob Melvin said the outfielder was likely experiencing dehydration and expected him to be fully ready for Wednesday's regular-season opener against the Mariners.
The 26-year-old Cuban sensation, who was replaced by Collin Cowgill in the eighth, is likely to bat fifth and play center field in the season opener, as he did Sunday.
Melvin closing in on Opening Day lineup
TOKYO -- Though not ready to commit just yet, A's manager Bob Melvin appears close to settling on an Opening Day lineup.
The one he ran out for Sunday's exhibition game against the host Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome has a "decent chance" of reappearing Wednesday for the regular-season opener with Seattle, he said.
Melvin decided to pack the of the order with speed, as Jemile Weeks, Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp were handpicked for the No. 1-3 spots. Seth Smith, starting at DH, followed in the cleanup spot, with Yoenis Cespedes batting fifth.
"It gets Penny up earlier in the game," Melvin said. "He's had a good spring. It also gives us speed with those first three guys -- not that it couldn't change at some point during the season, but at least today and in the foreseeable future."
The A's ultimately envision Cespedes batting third or fourth, but Melvin likes him in the No. 5 spot for now, not only to take away some pressure, but as a way of surrounding him with lefties, with Josh Reddick pegged to bat sixth.
Kurt Suzuki hit seventh Sunday, and Brandon Allen and Josh Donaldson were penciled into the eighth and ninth slots, though Melvin said he has not yet decided who will start at first and third come Opening Day, when Seattle ace Felix Hernandez is set to take the mound. Third base, in particular, has made for a tough decision, as Eric Sogard is still in the mix.
"Sogard's had a great spring, and you look at some of the splits on Hernandez, that's the one I'm probably most undecided on," Melvin said.