The news is promising on Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who battled right shoulder soreness for the final two weeks of the 2013 regular season.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Cespedes felt “a little bit better” after taking batting practice in a team workout Tuesday at O.co Coliseum and expects to start ALDS Game 1 on Friday evening against the visiting Tigers.
Cespedes, 27, batted .240/.294/.442 with 26 home runs and 80 RBI in 135 games this season for the American League West champions. He was 6-for-19 (.316) with a double, two steals and two RBI in last year’s ALDS loss to Detroit.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”