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.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.