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Yoenis Cespedes: Oakland Athletics CF Has His Moments in MLB Debut

Cespedes was 1-for-3 with a double in his MLB debut
Cespedes was 1-for-3 with a double in his MLB debutKevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterMarch 28, 2012

Yoenis Cespedes made his highly anticipated major league debut on Wednesday morning, as the Oakland A’s dropped the first game of their two-game series against the Seattle Mariners in Japan.

Cespedes, who I wrote about yesterday, finished his first big league game 1-for-3 with a double and a pair of strikeouts and was also hit by a pitch.

Starting in center field for the A’s, the Cuban defector wasn’t particularly challenged over the course of the game, though he did record two put-outs as well as an assist (thanks to a timely cut by first baseman Adam Rosales).

In Cespedes’ first major league at-bat in the bottom of the second inning, he struck out swinging after chasing a fading, 1-2 changeup from Felix Hernandez.

Facing Hernandez once again in the fifth inning, the right-handed hitter—who was batting seventh for the A’s—was drilled on the right arm by a running fastball.

He fared much better in his third at-bat against Hernandez, though, as he was able to wait back and get his hands extended on a 1-1 breaking ball, roping a one-hopper off the center field wall.

Although he did take some interesting swings over the course of the game, the cut he took on a quality curveball from King Felix was impressive. While raw strength and athleticism will always be part of Cespedes’ game, the 26-year-old's biggest challenge will be recognizing and adjusting to off-speed pitches.

Obviously, his double against Hernandez is an extremely small sample, especially when considering the flailing, pull-heavy swing he took at a 1-2 curveball from Tom Wilhelmsen in the bottom of the ninth. (Think he was trying to hit a walk-off? Yeah, me too.)

However, the well-struck double was still encouraging to see in his first big league game.

Cespedes and the A’s will face left-hander Jason Vargas to conclude the two-game series in Japan.

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