8/1/2014 7:37 P.M. ET
Cespedes 'accustomed to playing winning baseball'
Slugger always looking to make hard contact, confident Sox will turn things around
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- The possibilities of Yoenis Cespedes and the damage he can do while wearing a Red Sox uniform seem enticing. But on Friday, as the right-handed-hitting slugger arrived in his new baseball home, he didn't make any bold predictions of what he might do with the Green Monster hovering just 310 feet off in the distance.
"I'm a player. I know I have some power," Cespedes said through an interpreter. "I can't predict how many home runs I'm going to hit, because when I'm out there I'm not looking to hit a home run, I'm just looking to make hard contact."
For Friday night's opener of a three-game series against the Yankees, Cespedes was active and lurking as a pinch-hitter for the late innings, but he was not in the starting lineup. This was due to a long travel day that had the outfielder landing at about 4 p.m. ET a day after the blockbuster trade in which the Red Sox sent Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics.
Look for Cespedes to get a full day of work on Saturday afternoon.
Those who park in the lot behind the Monster might be wise to find a new location. Just ask Rangers manager Ron Washington, who has managed against Cespedes often enough in the American League West the last three years to know what type of player the Red Sox are getting.
"Cespedes was the most dangerous hitter in that lineup," said Washington. "I know one thing. He'll tear apart that wall in Boston. He'll put some dents in it. He hits all pitches. It didn't matter, he smacked them all."
In Boston, where Cespedes is signed through the end of the 2015 season, he will pair up with David Ortiz, forming a duo of monster mashers in the middle of the batting order.
"I feel very fortunate to have David Ortiz as a teammate," said Cespedes. "Most of all, I think I'll gain a valuable experience being a teammate of his. As teammates, I think we'll be able to do a lot of great things here."
While Cespedes leaves an Oakland team that has the best record in baseball to join a Boston team that entered the day 48-60, he is keeping a positive attitude.
"Oakland the last three years has turned itself into a winning team, the same way Boston was," said Cespedes. "I've become accustomed to playing winning baseball. I think we can achieve the same thing with this team. It's no secret to anybody that this is a great team. That's evident in the amount of World Series we've won here in Boston."
At the age of 28, Cespedes doesn't dispute the notion that the best baseball of his career could be in front of him.
"In some aspects, I've been getting better and better, incrementally. Just like everything else, there are things you can improve on every day," Cespedes said.
And on Saturday, manager John Farrell will be able to insert his new power threat into the lineup for the first time.
"To upgrade and improve our offense was a goal. We've been able to do that through these trades," said Farrell. "To be able to bring in a middle-of-the-order, All-Star-caliber bat from a contending team is not typical."