Melvin to keep Cespedes in center, cleanup spot


Melvin to keep Cespedes in center, cleanup spot

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.

Healy exits early, Blackburn suffers first loss with A's

Healy exits early, Blackburn suffers first loss with A's


NEW YORK — Michael Conforto hit a pair of two-run homers and Jerry Blevins rescued the Mets' bullpen with a five-out save as New York held off the Oakland Athletics 7-5 on Friday night for its third straight victory.

T.J. Rivera put the Mets ahead in the sixth inning with a two-run single that turned into a Little League home run. Rivera came all the way around to score on the play after third baseman Matt Chapman, trying to get Rivera at second, threw the ball away into right field for a costly error that made it 5-3.

Moments earlier, New York loaded the bases when Lucas Duda's bad-hop infield single struck first baseman Ryon Healy near the temple. Healy left the game and walked off under his own power with a swollen bruise next to his left eye.

Conforto's second homer made it 7-3 in the seventh. Oakland rallied for two in the eighth, but Blevins replaced closer Addison Reed with the bases loaded and got five straight outs against his former team for his fifth major league save and first this season.

Normally a lefty specialist, Blevins recorded five outs in a game for the first time since 2014 with Washington. He retired All-Star slugger Yonder Alonso on a foul popup and struck out Khris Davis to escape the eighth-inning jam.

"We just tried to find some matchups that worked," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Yoenis Cespedes had three hits after raising eyebrows when he told the San Francisco Chronicle before the game that he wants to play the final season of his career in Oakland, his first big league team.

Cespedes, who signed a $110 million, four-year contract in the offseason to remain with the Mets, also said A's manager Bob Melvin is his favorite skipper and he doesn't think there's a better one.

"Bob's a great manager. I don't blame him," Collins said after the game. "This is the first I've heard of it."

After the game, Cespedes clarified his comments while speaking with reporters through a translator and said he meant no disrespect toward Collins or the Mets.

Yoenis Cespedes: 'I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland'


Yoenis Cespedes: 'I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland'

After signing a four-year, $36 million deal with the A's before the 2012 season, Yoenis Cespedes' time in Oakland came to an end halfway through his third season.

The current Mets star certainly hasn't forgetten his time in Oakland, sharing his desire to end his career back where he started it to the San Francisco Chronicle

“I wish that happens,” Cespedes said on Friday with the A's taking on his Mets in New York. “I told (Jerry) Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.”

Cespedes, who has also played in Boston and Detroit, loved his time in Oakland. 

“I still love the A’s, they were the first team to give me an opportunity to play in the big leagues," Cespedes said. “I love Oakland all the time.”

Another key reason for Cespedes' hope to return to the A's one day is how much he enjoyed playing for manager Bob Melvin. 

“I tell my guys here all the time that he’s the best manager for me so far,” Cespedes said. “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin.”

Cespedes hit .262 with 66 home runs in his time with the A's. Over his six-year career, the slugging outfielder owns a career .272 batting average with 146 homers.