OAKLAND -- Just as Yoenis Cespedes is making his way through the language barrier, so, too, are his teammates and coaches.
The Spanish-speaking Cespedes, adjusting to his new life with help from Ariel Prieto, is without his interpreter in the dugout during games, making communication during that time a challenge. Luckily, hitting coach Chili Davis knows enough to at least ensure there is some.
"I'm not fluent, but I'm learning as I go," Davis said. "Throughout the years of Minor League baseball, Major League baseball and winter ball, I've learned how to communicate to a certain extent. I stumble on a few words and sentences, but if I take the time to try to slow down and think about what I'm trying to say, I can do all right. Ariel has helped me a lot."
When necessary, Davis can find Prieto nearby in the clubhouse, where he often escapes to in search of the right verbiage. The biggest trial, he says, comes in expressing the intensity with which he wants to get his point across. Still, some Spanish is better than none.
"I think 90 percent of the Spanish I've learned has come from baseball -- either baseball, or my housekeeper at home," Davis said, laughing. "But my job is to communicate, anyway, so it helps a lot."
"From what I hear, he sounds fluent to me," manager Bob Melvin said of Davis. "So he's the one who's talking to him during the games."
And it's first-base coach Tye Waller, standing on the front step of the dugout while the A's are on defense, who's pointing Cespedes around the outfield, with scouting reports on each hitter in mind. Helping him make the right adjustments, then, has been a collaboration of sorts.
"I think we're all developing a good relationship with him," Davis said. "We have to allow him the time to make those adjustments, just like any other player who comes up. A lot of times we expect so much more of him because of his ability that we fail to notice the progression he's already gone through.
"I'm just soaking it up right now, soaking up Yoenis Cespedes."