The A's outfielder, just like his teammates, needs rest sometimes, and that's exactly what manager Bob Melvin gave him Monday. Cespedes, having played the first 10 games, got the day off, allowing Coco Crisp to play in his natural center-field position for the club's four-game series opener in Anaheim.
"All the other outfielders have had one," Melvin said.
With Crisp in center and Josh Reddick manning right field, the A's manager handed Seth Smith his first start in the outfield this season. Smith, who up to this point had started his first six games as designated hitter, was slotted into left field, where he played 25 games for the Rockies last season, compared with 107 in right.
Melvin said he will attempt to play Smith and Jonny Gomes in the outfield from time to time, which has been a hard task with Collin Cowgill also in the mix. At the very least, it gives him plenty of options -- two right-handers and a left-hander -- when awarding off-days to his regulars, as he did to Cespedes, who is just 3-for-20 over his past six games after hitting .308 with three home runs in his first four.
Cespedes played in every game during his eighth and final season for Granma in the Cuban League in 2010, but those teams only have 90 games on their schedule, making the 162-game season quite an adjustment for him.
"I just don't want to have to correct something with him," Melvin said. "I don't want to run him down to where, all of a sudden, we have to fix it. We want to make sure he's healthy all along. He's not used to playing 162 games. So just like anybody else, he's going to need some days off."