A's hoping for jolt in Cespedes' return

A's hoping for jolt in Cespedes' return

MINNEAPOLIS -- A slumping A's offense will welcome back its biggest bat on Friday when Yoenis Cespedes is expected to rejoin the club in Kansas City after missing most of May with a strained muscle in his left hand.

In two rehab games with Triple-A Sacramento, Cespedes went 3-for-7, though manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday he should really have four hits to his name, having been called out at second base because he allegedly didn't touch first base after smacking a liner to left field on Tuesday.

"He swung the bat well, drove the ball, feels good," Melvin said.

When asked specifically about a Friday return, Melvin replied, "I certainly hope so. That was kind of the plan."

There's no doubt Cespedes has been missed, particularly during a string of seven straight losses with which the A's entered Wednesday's series finale in Minnesota. Over their last 16 games, all played without Cespedes, the A's are batting .189 and have a Major League-low .212 average this season.

At the time of his injury, the 26-year-old Cespedes was leading all rookies in RBIs (21) and stolen bases (four) and was tied for the lead in home runs (five). In his stead at the cleanup spot, Oakland's No. 4 hitters have gone just 15-for-78 (.192).