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Yoenis Cespedes breaks up Justin Verlander no-hitter with single (Video)

Justin Verlander was looking to become just the third pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in the postseason, but his bid came up short after he allowed a single to Yoenis Cespedes with two outs in the seventh of Game 5 of the ALDS on Thursday.

Yoenis CespedesVerlander retired the first two batters of the seventh, but he fell behind 1-0 to Cespedes and allowed a hard ground ball up the middle for a hit. Verlander wanted to go outside to Cespedes and hit his spot on the corner, but the Cuban outfielder delivered a shot up the middle for the hit. You can’t really complain about losing a no-hitter on such a clean shot.

After giving up the hit, Verlander struck out Seth Smith to end the inning.

Verlander actually had a perfect game going until the sixth when he walked Josh Reddick.

Verlander has thrown two no-hitters in his MLB career and was looking for his third. His first came in 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers, and the other came in 2011 against the Toronto Blue Jays, when he walked one batter and faced the minimum of 27.

To show his level of dominance against the A’s, we’ll share this stat via Elias Sports Bureau: Verlander’s 30 consecutive scoreless innings against the A’s in the playoffs is a postseason record for any pitcher against one team.

Verlander allowed a run in the first inning of Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS against the A’s and then shut them out the next six innings. He pitched a 9-inning complete game shutout against the A’s in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS. He went seven scoreless in Game 2 of the 2013 ALDS, and eight more scoreless in Game 5 of the 2013 ALDS.

Yoenis Cespedes caps off Home Run Derby with massive bat flip (Video)

Yoenis-Cespedes-Home-Run-Derby-bat-flipFor those who actually enjoy the Home Run Derby, last night was a special treat. Oakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper, two of the most exciting young players in the game, battled it out in the finals with Cespedes coming out on top.

After Cespedes launched 17 homers in the first round, it was only fitting that he hit nine in the finals to beat Harper, who was the model of consistency by hitting eight in each round. It was even more fitting that the winning homer was an absolute shot, traveling an estimated 455 feet to dead center field. And naturally, Cespedes topped it off with an epic bat flip.

Are we surprised? Not really. Most people were picking guys like Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista to win the Home Run Derby this year, but remember that amazing feat Cespedes accomplished during spring training? We probably should have seen this coming.

Yoenis Cespedes reunites with mother, family after stressful year

For over a year, Oakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had hardly any idea of where his mother, Estella Milanes, and 11 of his family members were or where they might end up. Cespedes defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2011 to pursue a career in professional baseball. The 26-year-old has succeeded, but prior to this week he had done so at the expense of having to be separated from his family.

According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, Milanes had been struggling to emigrate from Cuba to the United States to join her son. After a long stay in the Dominican Republic, she and her family members were detained as illegal immigrants and held in the Turks and Caicos Islands. They finally made it to Miami over the weekend, where Cespedes paid them a surprise visit.

“No one knew I was coming,” Cespedes said Tuesday through translator Ariel Prieto. “Everyone was sleeping, so I turned on all of the radios, all of the TVs. Nobody woke up, so I went upstairs and started knocking on all of the doors and screaming.

“I’m very happy. So much happiness.”

Cespedes stayed for 12 hours before he had to return to the airport for his flight back to Phoenix, but as you can imagine his family was overjoyed to see him. During the first four months of last season, Cespedes said he was in contact with his mother only about 10 times. There was even a stretch of about three or four days where he had no idea where she was.

“I had no idea where my family was,” he said. “They just disappeared.

Milanes represented Cuba in the 2000 Summer Olympics, where she was a softball pitcher who topped speeds of 80 mph. Cespedes proudly said that she was the “best lefty softball pitcher in all of Latin America” for a 10-year stretch and joked that she is now going to be his second hitting coach. Judging by the feat he pulled off over the winter, it doesn’t seem like he needs much advice.

It’s easy to look at someone who has a four-year, $36 million contract at age 26 and think about how lucky they are. Cespedes’ emotional reunion with his mother and family reminds us that there is more to life than just a bank account.

Photo credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Yoenis Cespedes hits home run with donut weight on his bat (Video)

Yoenis-Cespedes-donut-weightOakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is incredibly strong. If his 23 homers and slugging percentage of .505 in his first MLB season last year didn’t prove that to you, the feat he accomplished in spring training will.

On Friday, Cespedes told A’s manager Bob Melvin that he was going to hit a home run during batting practice with a donut weight still on his bat. He kept his word.

“He told me today he was going to hit a home run off of me with the donut on the bat,” Melvin said, via CSNBayArea.com. “That’s what he did.”

“That was almost like Babe Ruth calling his shot.”

For those of you who didn’t know, a donut weight is typically used by players in the on-deck circle to prepare for their at-bat. It makes the bat heavier while warming up, which ideally increases bat speed by making the bat feel lighter when you step to the plate.

People don’t usually hit home runs with the weight still attached. Cespedes may not be admiring his actual home runs anymore, but that was one worth watching.

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Yoenis Cespedes says he won’t be admiring his home runs anymore

Do you know who has the longest home run so far this season? I bet you didn’t guess Yoenis Cespedes, whose two-run jack Friday night sailed a whopping 462 feet into the deepest parts of O.co Coliseum.

The homer was the second of the year for Cespedes (remember him? The much sought-after Cuban defector with the Drago-esque workout video who’s going to toil in obscurity on the lowly A’s until Billy Beane trades him for a boat load of prospects at the trade deadline) and came off Mariners starter Jason Vargas in the bottom of the fourth to give the A’s their first runs of the night. (See video here.) Almost immediately after he hit it, Cespedes paused at home plate to admire the bomb. But he said that reaction is something you won’t see him having anymore.

“I followed the ball, but I don’t want to do that again,” he said through an interpreter, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I come from Cuba, where there’s a little less quality games, so we do that. But here I don’t want to do that.”

Well, with Manny Ramirez suspended I guess somebody on the team had to take home-run watching responsibilities. But Cespedes seems to have learned his lesson. Still, that blast was a beauty. Wouldn’t you have done the same?

Photo credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins Favorites to Sign Cuban Center Fielder Yoenis Cespedes?

The Miami Marlins have changed their team name, their logo, their uniforms, and they’re moving into a new stadium. Ken Rosenthal reports that the team is also ready to spend major bucks in free agency. An additional report says they’re the favorites to sign Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, a five-tool player whom we covered this weekend.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the Marlins have the inside track on Cespedes. They say the team’s owner, Jeffrey Loria, and several team officials will watch him work out in the Dominican Republic Thursday. They add that Cespedes shares the same agent as Hanley Ramirez, who was signed to a long-term deal by the Marlins.

Cespedes would be a particularly good fit for the Marlins because of his potential appeal to the fan base in South Florida. Moving into a new stadium, the Marlins will have to sell out games in order to maintain a high payroll.

In addition to Cespedes, Rosenthal says the Marlins are likely to pursue Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes. Given how cheap they’ve been over the years, I’ll believe it when I see it. But I certainly could see them dishing out big money to land the Cuban star.

Yoenis Cespedes Video Hypes Cuban Defector as ‘Hitting Aroldis Chapman’

Yoenis Cespedes is a center fielder who defected from Cuban this summer. He reportedly expects to be cleared for free agency soon, and his agents are hoping he’ll sign a deal similar to the one Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman received. And why not? They’re billing him as the hitting Aroldis Chapman.

Jeff Passan shares some information about Cespedes who some people compare to Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Cespedes was a star at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, reportedly hitting .458 with a double, three triples, two home runs, and five RBIs in six games. He also tied a record by hitting 33 home runs in 90 games in Cuba’s top league this past season.

His agents put together a hype video that features Cespedes taking batting practice and working out, amongst other things. During the video, Cespedes is seen hitting home runs, pimping his home runs, catching balls behind his back, and going through impressive workouts. He’s seen jumping on 45″ boxes, running the 60 in 6.3 seconds, and leg pressing 1300 pounds. So what does this supposed superstar look like? Watch the video:

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