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A's camp report: Likes and dislikes

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Yoenis Cespedes gives A's fans something to watch this season. (Getty Images)  
Yoenis Cespedes gives A's fans something to watch this season. (Getty Images)  

PHOENIX -- What I like, and don't like, about the A's:

Likes

  Now that the A's have said Yoenis Cespedes will open the season in center field for them, at least they'll have one guy in the lineup that people definitely want to watch. And one guy in the lineup who has a chance to hit a few home runs. It's still way too early to know how good the 26-year-old Cuban will be, or how well or how soon he'll adjust to the big leagues. But as one rival scout said after watching Cespedes this spring, the talent is as advertised.

Oakland Athletics
Danny Knobler
The A's are different, and not just because there's a movie out about them. Camp report >>
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  Great to see that Dallas Braden seems to be recovering well from shoulder surgery that ended his 2011 season. Braden said he set himself a goal of being ready by April 1, "but I want to get back and hit the ground running, and not hit it face-first." The A's say Braden could make it back by May, or perhaps a little before that.

  The young pitchers the A's got in the Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill trades really do look promising. Tommy Milone looked so good that he should open the season in the rotation, and even though the A's sent Jarrod Parker to the minor leagues to start the year, they said he's still a candidate to become the fifth starter when they first need one on April 15.

  The A's players seem to like playing for Bob Melvin, and if you've spent any time around Melvin, you can understand why. The atmosphere here is definitely improved over when Bob Geren was the manager. You just hope Melvin can survive what will inevitably be some less-than-successful seasons. Oh, and having Melvin here brought Phil Garner back into an A's uniform for the first time since he last played for the A's in 1976, and that's not a bad thing.

Dislikes

  The A's lineup is weak enough that one A's person wondered who will be able to protect Cespedes. That's a new one for me, wondering if you have anyone in the lineup who can protect a rookie, before he has his first official major-league at-bat.

  Because they'll open the season against the Mariners in Japan and then come back a week later and play the Mariners again in Oakland, the A's will face Felix Hernandez in two of their first three games. That would be a challenge for a team that can hit. And the A's can't hit.

  This isn't all the A's fault. It's not even primarily the A's fault. But can we finally get this stadium/San Jose issue settled? The A's are tired of hearing about it, and tired of talking about it. We're tired of hearing about it, and tired of talking about it. And everyone is tired of seeing games at the Coliseum.

  In Billy Beane's winter science project, he came up with a roster full of outfielders (and Manny Ramirez), and with a team that doesn't really have a third baseman. Or much of a first baseman, for that matter. There was some talk in Arizona that the A's might try to trade for Alberto Callaspo, but it's not clear how much chance a deal with the Angels would have.

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