Bay Area Baseball

Follow the latest news and notes on the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics

October 3, 2013
Melvin: 'A good chance' Cespedes will play LF in Game 1

OAKLAND -- A's manager Bob Melvin said today he expects Yoenis Cespedes (sore right shoulder) to be in the A's lineup for Game 1 of the ALDS tomorrow night, and that "there's a good chance" Cespedes will be playing left field.

Cespedes played catch today for the first time this week with no setbacks. Still, Melvin said, "We'll want to at least see how he is when he comes in tomorrow."

If Cespedes can play left, which the A's would prefer, Melvin said Brandon Moss will start at designated hitter. If Cespedes can't play defense, he'll be the A's DH and Moss will play left. That means Daric Barton will get the start at first base.

Melvin also said Eric Sogard will start at second base over Alberto Callaspo. One thing that does is give Melvin more flexibility to play match-ups later in the game, as Callaspo is a switch-hitter.

* Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is nursing multiple ailments including a sore groin , said he doesn't think the groin will be an issue in the series. "I wish tomorrow, game time, 100 percent," Cabrera said. "I feel much better the last couple of days."

Cabrera, the reigning A.L. MVP, hit .278 with one home run in September, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the groin did impact Cabrera's ability to use his lower half while swinging.

Leyland, though, said he believes Cabrera has improved recently and is "playable, (if) not 100 percent."

"Obviously the medical people feel that he's not going to do anything to endanger his future and he wants to play," Leyland said. "He's handicapped a little bit, obviously, although I think he is better. Probably the last few days have helped him a little bit."

Leyland said he would be inclined to pinch-run for Cabrera in the eighth inning or later, but likely not before.

* Last year the A's reward for securing home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs was a trip to Detroit to begin the ALDS under a temporary 2-3 format for the five-game series. This year it's back to the traditional 2-2-1 format, giving the A's a chance to open at home.

"We're excited to be able to play on a Friday night in front of our fans with a few more people in the stands," Melvin said. "And we know this as being a pretty loud place."

Crowd noise at the Coliseum drew recognition from both the A's and their opponents down the stretch last year and in the playoffs. Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer recalled today that it was "one of the rowdiest baseball experiences I've ever been a part of."

It has the potential to be rowdier this year, as the A's will open third-deck seating behind home plate and down both foul lines, increasing capacity by more than 12,000. Scherzer, who will start Game 1 for the Tigers, said it's "just going to be an unbelievable baseball experience, something I'll never forget."

Asked what kind of atmosphere to expect from a projected crowd of more than 48,000, A's shortstop Jed Lowrie said: "I don't know. But I'm excite to find out."

Leyland said he expects it to be "just a little bit louder," and he'll encourage his team to "thrive on" the noise.

"I like it when they're waving the yellow towels and the fans are screaming," Leyland said. "The acoustics are a little tough -- they're a little loud. I like bars with music, but this is a little bit loud."

* Leyland said the Tigers intend to pitch Scherzer again in Game 5 if the series gets that far. He added that, "If by chance something doesn't work right, your second-day starter (in this case, Justin Verlander) could pitch Game 5 on normal rest."

* Leyland confirmed that Jhonny Peralta, who missed 50 games in the second half of the regular season under suspension for his connection with the Biogenesis clinic, will be on the Tigers' roster for the ALDS.

Peralta was the Tigers' regular shortstop, but in his absence Detroit acquired Jose Iglesias from Boston. When Peralta returned, the Tigers played him in left field. Leyland, though, said Andy Dirks will start Game 1 in left.

* Former outfielder Dave Henderson, a member of the A's 1989 World Series team, will throw out the first pitch before tonight's game.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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