Yoenis Cespedes has been working with hitting coach Chili Davis to shorten his swing and so far the results aren’t pretty, as the A’s outfielder is in the middle of a 0-for-20 slump.
Davis told Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com that the struggles at the plate have caused Cespedes to lose focus on the long-term goals of the mechanical changes:
It’s not gonna be perfect every time, but for Ces, he expects perfection. It frustrates him that he’s not perfect every time. It’s not a bad thing, but you’ve gotta understand that this game is an imperfect game.
Cespedes has always been known for his tremendous raw power, but Stiglich writes that “he’s having trouble lifting the ball and generating power.” Or as Cespedes himself put it: “It’s kind of a little difficult for me to create that swing when my whole life I’ve had a long swing.”
It’s also worth noting that, long swing and all, Cespedes’ production declined significantly last season. He went from hitting .292 with an .861 OPS as the Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2012 to hitting .240 with a .737 OPS last season, although his power numbers remained essentially the same.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.