A's notes: Cespedes arrives, Melvin motivates

A's notes: Cespedes arrives, Melvin motivates
February 17, 2013, 11:15 am
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Yoenis Cespedes hit 23 home runs and batted .292 last season, his first in the MLB. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

PHOENIX -- The band is back together. The defending 2012 American League West Champions are back in camp and working out for the first time as a unit.

The big draw was Yoenis Cespedes, who addressed a large media contingent at Phoenix Municipal Stadium upon arriving. The only players currently not in camp are Michael Ynoa -- who is recovering at home with a case of chicken pox, and Scott Sizemore -- who is with his wife Brooke and his new baby daughter Layla.

A's manager Bob Melvin addressed his team this morning. His main message was that they should be proud of their success, but this is a new year.

"Unless you're moving forward, you are moving backward," Melvin said. "We had a little video entertainment as well."

The video was a four minute presentation, including their Major League-leading 15 walk-offs.

"There was some pie," Melvin said of the video put together by the team's media relations and broadcast coordinator Adam Loberstein.

Youth is Served:

The A's are known to be a young squad. It's fitting that they have the youngest player in all of the big league camps here as well -- shortstop Addison Russell, now 19-years-old.

Russell was the 11th overall pick in the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft. The Pace, Fla., native played 55 games last season after being picked by Oakland. He started in the Arizona Rookie League, was called up to low-A Vermont, and ended the season in Class-A Burlington. He hit .310 with seven homers, 45 RBI, 16 stolen bases, and 23 walks in total.

Russell is very young, but Melvin say he certainly doesn't look like it or act like it.

"If we didn't think we could handle big league camp he wouldn't be here," Melvin said. "I had Justin Upton in Arizona at the same age and he was able to handle big league camp, we think this guy will as well."

Melvin says he will try to get some at-bats early on and put him in situations where he can have some success.

An A's Great Stops By:

Bob Welch is in camp working with some of the A's pitchers. Welch won 27 games in 1990 while with Oakland -- winning the American League Cy Young award. He was on the team in 1989 when they swept the Giants in the World Series.

We do like to celebrate our past here some, and that was one of the reasons he was here today," Melvin said. "He's a people person who loves putting on the green and gold as well."

Welch was teaching all the minor leaguers how to throw a curveball like Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. The legendary three-time Cy Young and six-time All-Star taught Welch how to throw a curveball.

"I remember facing Welch earlier with the Giants," Melvin said. "I think I faced him one or two times and that was the last time I got to face him until later on his career. He was that good."

Always modest, Melvin was actually 2 for 6 with an RBI and just one strikeout in his career against Welch.

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