TOKYO -- Yoenis Cespedes must love major league baseball. He hit a home run in his second game and his Japanese hosts called him on to the field after the game to present him with a big check for one million yen, roughly $12,000.
That is probably not how it works in Cuba.
"He’s probably got a few bucks in his pocket at this point but 12 grand is 12 grand," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
Cespedes should have more than a few dollars after signing a four-year, $36 million contract with the Athletics late this winter after leaving his native Cuba. He made the team out of spring training and started in center field the first two games in Japan. The Mariners pitchers threw him several sliders those two games and he finally made them pay with a two-run homer off one from reliever Shawn Kelley in the bottom of the seventh to give Oakland a 2-1 lead in the Athletics' eventual 4-1 victory.
"They tried to throw me sliders and I had to make an adjustment," Cespedes said through his interpreter, former Athletics pitcher Ariel Prieto.
Asked what he thought of Cespedes’ home run, Melvin replied, "Hard and fast. We’ve seem him getting more comfortable against right-handers. For him to hit one to put us ahead, I’m sure it gives him some confidence."
"You go out to the field to enjoy the game but you don’t think anyone is coming out after to name you MVP," Cespedes said of the check. "You don’t worry about that. You worry about going to the game and playing the game hard."