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Slumping Cespedes hits sixth in A's order

Slumping Cespedes hits sixth in A's order

KANSAS CITY -- A slumping Yoenis Cespedes made just his second career appearance in the sixth spot of the A's batting order and first of the season against the Royals on Friday.

The outfielder last hit in the No. 6 spot in the second game of the 2012 season in Tokyo, after hitting seventh in the opener. Since, Cespedes had not batted lower than fifth, with 137 of his 194 career starts hitting in the cleanup hole.

"Just a change of scenery, and [Josh] Donaldson's been doing really well, so just a little bit of both," manager Bob Melvin said. "My guess is, he won't be there long. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery."

Cespedes entered Friday's series opener with just nine hits and 23 strikeouts in his last 59 at-bats -- a .153 clip over that 15-game span. Since the start of the season, Cespedes seemingly hasn't found a consistent groove. He hit .228 in April, .220 in May and .232 in June.

Still, he has 15 home runs and 42 RBIs.

"It's funny, every time I've thought about potentially dropping him down a slot or two," Melvin said, "he ends up getting a couple of big hits for us. He's a third or fourth hitter is what he is, he's just not there tonight."

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.

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