TOKYO -- Yoenis Cespedes is on a mission to silence the doubters who have been weary of his ability to hit Major League pitching.
The A's outfielder didn't put on the most impressive Cactus League performance, furthering speculation about his potential, but he needed just one big league game -- against Felix Hernandez on an international stage, no less -- to collect his first hit in the Majors.
It was a ringing double to center field -- "That was one of the prettiest swings I've seen him take," A's shortstop Cliff Pennington said -- and it followed two less-than-memorable at-bats. Cespedes swung through Hernandez's breaking ball for a strikeout in his first at-bat and was hit by a pitch his second go-around at the plate.
Cespedes said Thursday he felt a dose of pressure coming into his Major League debut, most of which was relieved following the hit.
"I felt so excited after getting the first hit," he said through translator Ariel Prieto. "After I got the hit, I knew the dream I've had in mind has come true."
The center fielder started Thursday's Opening Series finale one spot higher in the order at No. 6, a move that coincided with Melvin's desire to pack as many right-handers into the lineup against Seattle lefty Jason Vargas.
"Each and every at-bat, we had a better feeling of, 'He might run into one here pretty quick,'" manager Bob Melvin said. "I think he's more comfortable each and every day he's here, and I'm happy with his progress to this point."