A's encouraged by Cespedes' batting-practice session

A's encouraged by Cespedes' batting-practice session

BOSTON -- Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes participated in batting practice on Monday for the first time since hitting the disabled list, his injured left hand appearing to be no issue.

That's an extremely encouraging sight for the A's, who expect Cespedes to continue taking swings in Boston before beginning a two-day rehab stint in Sacramento on Friday. That puts him on track for a return on Sunday, when he's eligible to come off the DL.

"If things go well here," manager Bob Melvin said, "we'll get him a couple of games Friday and Saturday. I'm probably getting ahead of myself, but to be here taking batting practice certainly is a step in the right direction."

The A's certainly would like to regain the slugger sooner rather than later. They're 8-2 with him in the lineup, compared with 4-5 in games he doesn't start. It was a similar story last year, when Oakland went 82-46 with Cespedes in the lineup and 12-22 without him.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.