PHOENIX -- Happy and expansive, A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes gave a detailed account Tuesday of his whirlwind trip to the Miami area to visit 12 family members who finally arrived in the United States after spending a year in the Dominican Republic trying to get here.
Cespedes revealed that his trip was a total surprise to his family, and when he arrived at his offseason home in Boca Raton at 6 a.m., everyone was asleep.
"I turned the radio and TV on and tried to make a big noise," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "They wouldn't wake up. So after that, I started knocking on doors hard and screaming and everything."
After a series of highly emotional hugs and kisses, Cespedes said the
Cespedes said his family will reside in Miami for now, but he plans to have them in Oakland for the season opener April 1.
Cespedes had not seen his family members for a year and a half after they defected as a group to the Dominican Republic from their native Cuba two years ago. When he signed with the A's, his family members were forced to remain in the Dominican, which worried him considerably during his first major league season.
"Sometimes during that year, there would be 3-4 days I wouldn't know where my family was," Cespedes said. "They just disappeared."
When they did make contact, Cespedes said that he
He said his mom, a renowned left-handed softball pitcher in Cuba who could throw 80 mph, watched several A's games from the Dominican and often gave him batting tips during those phone conversations. He referred to her as his second hitting coach.
"She would tell me when I did something wrong," he said. "A lot of the time she would tell me to concentrate and focus more."
Cespedes' family, which includes several cousins and aunts in addition to his mother, arrived by ship from the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday. The player was ecstatic when he heard the news that they were about to arrive in the U.S.
He didn't expect it would take nearly this long. He said the ordeal to get his family from the Dominican to Florida was a complicated, frustrating process with lots of paperwork.
Cespedes has a half-brother and half-sister from his father's side still living in Cuba, as does his 3-year-old son, Yoenis Jr., whom he has not seen in two years since he fled his native country. He said he hopes to be reunited with his son someday and added that he has spoken to him over the phone.
Cespedes arrived back in Arizona early Tuesday morning and said that with his family now in the U.S., he can devote all his energy toward his second season in the major leagues.
"I will still worry about them, but I know they are safe now," he said. "Last year it affected my concentration. I tried to put it aside, but this year will be much better because my mind is completely clear."
Milone, projected to be the A's No. 3 starter, gave up three earned runs in 32/3 innings, including a long homer to Alex Gordon to lead off the game. On the plus side, Milone threw 60 pitches, didn't walk a batter and struck out a pair. Milone hasn't walked a batter in his first 82/3 innings this spring.
"The main goal of the spring is getting your pitch count up as a starter, and get up 4-5 times during a game," Milone said. "I was able to do that today."
Left-hander Brett Anderson, who suffered a strained right trapezia muscle covering third in a game Sunday, pushed back his scheduled bullpen session a day. Melvin said it shouldn't impact Anderson's pitching schedule.