On Monday, Oakland manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Cespedes would be his center fielder when the team starts the season next week in Japan against the Mariners (via San Francisco Chronicle). In February, Crisp, the incumbent, said, "Unless he's a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field."
Crisp, the mere mortal, will be the team's starting left fielder, Melvin said. Crisp has started 203 games in left in his career, but none since 2005 when he was with the Indians. Melvin told reporters that one of the reasons Cespedes will start in center and Crisp in left is because Cespedes will be more comfortable in center and he's already dealing with a enough adjustments. Crisp, on the other hand, is a seasoned pro that can handle playing a different position. However, Melvin also said this is the plan just for the two games in Japan, that things beyond that are to be determined. The team leaves for Japan on Thursday.
The A's signed the 26-year-old Cespedes to a four-year, $36 million deal last season. in six spring games heading into Monday afternoon's action, Cespedes is 3 for 17 (.176) with a home run, two walks and six strikeouts in 17 at-bats.