Cuban Defector Yoenis Cespedes Joins Athletics In Spring Training

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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