TOKYO -- Yoenis Cespedes is no stranger to Japan, having hit five home runs in seven games here while a member of the Cuban team in the 2010 World University Games.
On Saturday afternoon, he appeared to pick up right where he left off.
Cespedes wowed onlookers during batting practice at the Tokyo Dome, launching at least seven home runs over the wall, many of which nearly hit the roof. Though it remains to be seen how he'll fare in regular-season games, A's manager Bob Melvin hopes Saturday's spectacle is a hint of what's to come.
"I thought what I always think when I throw batting practice to him," Melvin said. "I duck behind the screen so I don't get hurt. Each and every day he gets more confident and more comfortable. In turn, the batting practices get better and he's got more confidence. I think a lot of it has to do with not only how he feels on the field, but off the field. We know he has that kind of power."
Cespedes said through translator Ariel Prieto that he is "very happy" to be back in Japan, notably because of the success he found there during his previous visit. He also mentioned being excited about playing in his first regular-season game on Wednesday. Cespedes said he "will be one step closer to my dream."
Cespedes is slated to start that contest in center field, with Coco Crisp is left field and Josh Reddick in right field.