Melvin to keep Cespedes in center, cleanup spot

Melvin to keep Cespedes in center, cleanup spot
April 11, 2012, 7:19 pm
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As slugger Yoenis Cespedes is starting to return to earthjust like the baseballs he was sending into orbit in the first week of theseason.After taking the baseball world by storm with threetape-measure home runs in his first four big league contests, Cespedes has cooleddown with no hits and three strikeouts in the first two games of a three-gameset against the Kansas City Royals.Other than looking off balance on the breaking balls being thrown his way byopposing pitchers who have read his scouting repor, Cespedes is also adjustingto being a big-league center fielder.In Tuesdays loss to the Royals, Cespedes covered a lot of ground to puthimself in position to make a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch, but saw thebaseball bounce off the outside of his glove instead.If he secures that ball, everyone talks about it, Asmanager Bob Melvin said in explaining why hes in no hurry to change the wayhes using his 26-year-old Cuban defector.Melvin praised Cespedes above average arm and said that he has no intention tomove him to a corner outfield spot and put Coco Crisp back in center.I think Cespedes is doing a pretty good job out there, Melvin said.
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Cespedes has steadily climbed in Melvins batting ordersince debuting in the seventh spot March 28 in Japan. In the As second game inJapan, Cespedes hit sixth, then hit fifth in Oaklands domestic home opener.Melvin moved him up to the cleanup spot for the As next two games on April 7and 9, then gave him a shot in the No. 3 hole Tuesday against the Royals.Moving forward, Melvin said he likes Cespedes cleaning up because of the powerhe provides and the hope that runners will be on base for him.Im comfortable with him in the No. 4 spot right now, Melvin said, but addedthat lineups are a little more apt to be changed. As for his outfield defense, it seems pretty clear thatMelvin intends to let Cespedes learn on the job while patrolling center field.