A's notes: Melvin inspired by fans, arm-wrestling Cespedes, etc.

A's notes: Melvin inspired by fans, arm-wrestling Cespedes, etc.
February 8, 2014, 11:15 am
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I expect us to be very good again.
Bob Melvin

Editor's note: A’s manager Bob Melvin met with the media Saturday morning before FanFest activites got underway. Here are some highlights of what he had to share:

Asked his thoughts about center fielder Coco Crisp being awarded a two-year extension, Melvin said it’s great to have team leaders -- and those embraced by the fans -- make a commitment to wanting to be here.

“When you play here for a little while, you can get inspired by this fan base.”

[RELATED: A's grant Crisp two-year extension]

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Melvin said he’s glad to hear Yoenis Cespedes talk about shortening his swing a bit.

“He has done that at times and had success with it. It’s trying to maintain a certain approach for an entire season that’s gonna make him more consistent.”

Cespedes said he’s bulked up about 15 pounds from 210 to 225. Does he appear stronger to Melvin?

“I’ll arm-wrestle him and let you know a little bit later.”

[RELATED: Cespedes guarantees playoffs for A's in 2014]

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Brandon Moss hit a career-high 30 home runs last season, but that may not win him everyday playing time at first base. Melvin suggested the A’s will look to platoon a right-handed hitter in there against left-handed starting pitchers.

“You know, it’s based on the way the roster is made up, but I think, to an extent, he’ll get some days off against left-handed pitching,” Melvin said. “There are times that he’s swung the bat well against left-handed pitching and we’ll take that into consideration. But we’re always trying to run the best lineup out there on a particular day.” Melvin reiterated that switch-hitter Alberto Callaspo will get a look at first base, presumably against left-handed starters.

That would suggest that it might be tough for a backup first baseman such as Nate Freiman to crack the Opening Night roster.

**

Melvin said he could possibly envision two left-handed hitting catchers -- John Jaso and Stephen Vogt -- both making the team. Jaso is in line to potentially get DH at-bats but Melvin pointed out that he likes to rotate guys through that spot too.

“That’s why we try not to get locked into a full-time DH situation. Coco is gonna need his days off (from the outfield). Cespedes is gonna need his days off.”

[RELATED: A's position battle: Catcher]

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The A’s have thrived in an underdog role the past couple of seasons, and on Friday, Crisp said Oakland might still be an underdog given the high-priced acquisitions by Texas over the winter.

“It doesn’t bother me if someone doesn’t pick us to win the division,” Melvin said. “It didn’t last year. I think our expectations for our group are more important than what others are for us.”

So what expectations does the A’smanager have for his team?

“I expect us to be very good again.”

[RELATED: Vegas sets odds to win 2014 World Series]