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Cuban Defector Yoenis Cespedes Joins Athletics In Spring Training

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Yoennis Cespedes #51 of Cuba runs to third base after hitting into the corner of the outfield againts Japan during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Round 2 Pool 1 Game 5 on March 18, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

Yoennis Cespedes #51 of Cuba runs to third base after hitting into the corner of the outfield againts Japan during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Round 2 Pool 1 Game 5 on March 18, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

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PHOENIX (AP) — Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes worked out with the Oakland Athletics for the first time Sunday, taking batting practice with Manny Ramirez.

Cespedes’ signed a $36 million, four-year contract, the highest for a Cuban defector. The signing is a big splash for a low-budget franchise that surprisingly outbid some big-spending clubs for the slugging outfielder who starred for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Manager Doug Melvin now has 16 outfielders in camp. He says Cespedes has some catching up to do before he makes his spring training debut. Cespedes says he’ll be ready in five or six days.

He is projected to be ready for the majors right away. The only question is whether he’ll play left field or replace Coco Crisp in center.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)

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