Despite numbers, A's pulling Cespedes from DH duty

July 18, 2012, 7:00 pm
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OAKLAND -- Despite the splits suggesting A's manager to do otherwise, Bob Melvin has Yoenis Cespedes tabbed as Wednesday's starting left fielder and Seth Smith as the designated hitter.

"He is quite the athlete," Bob Melvin said of Cespedes. "You don't want to just limit him to DHing."

Unless, of course, he's hitting .095 points better when he doesn't have to play defense.

Cespedes is batting .357 as the designated hitter this year, and he earned A.L. Player of the Week honors after an 8-for-14 series in Minnesota when he hit two home runs, a double, scored five times and knocked in six runs in the three-game sweep. He's batting .262 in 44 games as an outfielder.

"We have plenty of guys that can play out there," Melvin acknowledged of his fluid outfield.

One such guy is Seth Smith, who is batting .294 as an outfielder this year, but hasn't produced as the DH, hitting .185 in 25 games there this season.

"There are times when Seth is DHing, and he's just going to have to deal with it," Melvin said.

If that's the case, the A's will deal with the .185 hitting version of Smith, and the .262 version of Cespedes. When switched, the pair is batting a combined .204 points higher.

One thing is certain. Cespedes needs to be in the lineup somewhere. The A's are 34-24 when he plays, and 12-20 with a lineup bereft of their Cuban.

Cespedes had a few troubles early in the season navigating the vacuous Oakland outfield, and was switched from center field to left field as a result.

Not known for his defensive ability to track deep balls, and after strains to muscles in his hamstring and hand this year, Cespedes could be better suited on this A's roster to remain the designated hitter.

Where are you playing him?

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