A’s activate Yoenis Cespedes from disabled list

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As expected, the A’s have activated outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the disabled list after he spent four weeks on the sidelines with a hand injury.

Cespedes went 3-for-9 on a brief minor-league rehab assignment and Oakland cleared a spot for his return yesterday by demoting struggling starter Tyson Ross to Triple-A.

Prior to the injury Cespedes hit .245 with five homers, five doubles, and a .753 OPS in 28 games, showing the combination of excellent power and questionable plate discipline that most reports pegged him for coming out of Cuba.

He played center field before going on the DL, but the 26-year-old rookie may shift to left field now with Coco Crisp remaining in center.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.