The Oakland Athletics played the second of two exhibition games in Japan on Sunday, handily defeating the Yomiuri by blanking them in a 5-0 victory. Leadoff hitter Jemile Weeks has two hits and two RBI while Kurt Suzuki homered. Yoenis Cespedes went 0-for-4, but lefty Tom Milone was more than solid, tossing five shutout innings with seven strikeouts while only giving up two hits. A terrific tune-up for the A's as they get ready to take on the Seattle Mariners to officially kick off the 2012 MLB season.
Cespedes needed to leave the game in the seventh inning due to a leg cramp, after which he was spelled by Collin Cowgill. Jane lee of MLB.com reported that Cespedes was experiencing some dehydration and will likely be held out of the next A's exhibition game against the Hanshin , but is expected to be ready to go on Wednesday when they play the Mariners.
Lee also reported that A's manager Bob Melvin is getting close to deciding on an Opening Day lineup.
Melvin decided to pack the of the order with speed, as Jemile Weeks, Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp were handpicked for the No. 1-3 spots. Seth Smith, starting at DH, followed in the cleanup spot, with Yoenis Cespedes batting fifth.
The A's ultimately envision Cespedes batting third or fourth, but Melvin likes him in the No. 5 spot for now, not only to take away some pressure, but as a way of surrounding him with lefties, with Josh Reddick pegged to bat sixth.
Although it didn't seem this way early in the offseason, whichever lineup Melvin goes with will be a big improvement over 2011.
For more on the Oakland A's and their season opener in Japan, head on over to Athletics Nation.