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A’s Arrive in Japan, Take Batting Practice of the Ages

March 24, 2012

The A’s arrived in Japan with a welcome fit for a king, or pope, or a team that isn’t destined to fall well short of the playoffs. After successfully (we hope!) conquering the jet lag (I haven’t done Arizona to Japan, but I have done San Francisco to Seoul and it is a tough one) they set foot in the Tokyo Dome to take batting practice. Here is what everyone had to say, first from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle,

“Today, he [Yoenis Cespedes] nearly hit the roof with several drives, which usually means a sky-high pop-up. In this case, he hit one of those balls over the wall, and another landed just short of the fence.

And in his third turn in the cage, Cespedes launched a homer that nearly hit the back wall in left field. I’m going to try to get an estimate on the distance, but it’s a high wall up there and he hit it more than halfway back. The Japanese journalists standing near me all gasped. I think I might have, too.”

Jane Lee of MLB.com was equally impressed and had quotes from Bob Melvin and Cespedes himself through translator, former A’s pitcher and fellow Cuban Ariel Prieto,

” ‘I thought what I always think when I throw batting practice to him,’ Melvin said. ‘I duck behind the screen so I don’t get hurt. Each and every day he gets more confident and more comfortable. In turn, the batting practices get better and he’s got more confidence. I think a lot of it has to do with not only how he feels on the field, but off the field. We know he has that kind of power.’

Cespedes said through translator Ariel Prieto that he is ‘very happy’ to be back in Japan, notably because of the success he found there during his previous visit. He also mentioned being excited about playing in his first regular-season game on Wednesday. Cespedes said he ‘will be one step closer to my dream.’ “

Limited to just 140 characters on Twitter, Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News wrote,

“Cespedes put on a show during BP with several HRs, but [Kurt] Suzuki and [Coco] Crisp were raving about a couple shots  [Josh] Donaldson hit as well.”

Which Slusser backed up on Twitter writing,

“I’m told Josh Donaldson‘s batting practice was even better than Cespedes’.”

So there you have it, your 2012 batting practice champion Oakland Athletics. Can’t wait for real baseball and also can’t wait for the A’s to really hit, real pitches.

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