Cespedes 'happy' to take on the Yankees

July 19, 2012, 11:46 pm
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OAKLAND -- Last time the Yankees were here they swept the A's. They didn't have to contend with Yoenis Cespedes though. Cespedes was on the disabled list with a left hand strain at the time. It is no secret the A's are a better team when Cespedes is in the lineup. The stats confirm it as well. With their Cuban-born slugger in the order they are 35-24; without him the A's are 12-20. He is hitting .288 this season and seven of his 11 home runs have come with runners on base. Could Cespedes be the difference maker? He hopes so. "I am going to try to concentrate really hard to compete with them, be part of the team and try to win," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "The last time I didn't have a chance to play them. I felt bad." Cespedes said he is happy to play against the Yankees for the first time. He deemed himself almost 100 healthy after recovering from a left hand strain, left hamstring strain and a sprained left thumb this season. Injuries aside, Cespedes has been a force in the A's lineup. He is on a career-high-tying six-game hitting streak, and is batting .328 (12 for 64) with runners in scoring position. Wednesday he started in left field for the first time since July 8, when he sprained his left thumb. Aside from his health, he says he is feeling a lot better about playing left field for the A's. Playing left field has been an adjustment for Cespedes, who was a centerfielder for most of his professional career, although he did play some left field in Cuba.The A's coaching staff has found something that helps him feel comfortable in in his new position. He plays deeper than the other outfielders, which allows him to use his speed to break in on the ball, and prevents him from making bad reads that allow the ball to go over his head. "I am going to try and do the best I can in left field," Cespedes said. "I feel a lot better right now."

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