PHOENIX -- Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes is being counted on to be the A's cleanup hitter in 2014, which at some level makes him the key to the entire offense.
This spring, however, he's hitting just .118 after going 0-for-2 against the Giants Saturday in Scottsdale. Manager Bob Melvin said Sunday morning Cespedes "gets frustrated at times'' but is confident the slugger will break out of it.
Batting coach Chili Davis, who works with Cespedes every morning for about 45 minutes before the official start of workouts, is similarly optimistic. At the same time, Davis said Cespedes, who has been working to cut down his swing and produce more line drives, also needs to change his mental approach.
"He wants to have it perfect every time,'' Davis said. "He needs to realize that this is an imperfect game. If you hit .300, you're a star.''
Cespedes hit .292 as a rookie, then fell to .240 last year, his second season after leaving Cuba. His power numbers went up as a sophomore from .23 homers to 26, but his RBIs basically plateaued, going from 82 as a rookie to 80 last year.
The effort this spring has been to work on more of a line drive swing, which would theoretically boost the batting average and the RBIs and, the feeling is, the power would come along of its own accord.
"He likes line drives,'' Davis said. "He felt powerful last year. I need to get him to feel power this year. And if I can get him to square it up, if the ball is in the air, it's gone.
"We've got some time left this spring. I'm hoping that it will all click in in the next week or so.''
Cespedes will give it another shot Sunday afternoon. He's in the A's lineup again as the cleanup hitter, but this time as a DH in Goodyear in a game against the Reds, just to work on his swing.