The Oakland A’s got a bit of positive news just before they begin their ALDS series with the Detroit Tigers on Friday.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is expected to start the opener despite a right shoulder issue that sidelined him for the majority of the season’s final week. Cespedes, who has been DH’ing rather than playing the outfield in recent weeks, took BP on Tuesday, and announced that he was feeling “better” in the shoulder area.
This is huge news for Oakland, as Cespedes brings a much-needed power source to that lineup. He last appeared in a game on September 27th, but he has only 233 plate appearances in the 2nd half of the season on account of the shoulder injury. In 1,114 career MLB plate appearances, the Cuban outfielder has 49 home runs, and if he’s remotely healthy, the new powerful dimension he brings to the lineup would be useful against Detroit’s strong starting pitching staff.
It seems that the majority of “experts” are counting the A’s out (yet again) in this series against the high-powered Tigers. That is probably a mistake, as this is a scrappy bunch, but perhaps the inclusion of a semi-healthy Cespedes will level the playing field a bit. Either way, we’re in store for a quality battle that will (hopefully) produce a long series.