Athletics place Yoenis Cespedes on disabled list with strained muscle in hand

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According to Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com, the Athletics have placed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his left hand. Michael Taylor has been recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to replace him on the active roster.

Cespedes was injured last night on an awkward slide into second while attempting to steal a base in the eighth inning. He stayed in the game initially, but was eventually replaced for a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning. The good news is that X-rays and an MRI ruled out any structural damage, so the A’s are hoping that he’ll be ready to return as soon as he’s eligible.

Seth Smith, Chris Young and Taylor could all be in the mix for playing time in left field in the coming days. Coco Crisp was forced to exit last night’s game with a left groin strain, but Pratt hears that could return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow.

Cespedes is hitting .200 (8-for-40) with three home runs and seven RBI through 11 games this season. The Cuban outfielder launched 23 homers in 129 games as a rookie last season.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉