Cespedes Bucking Odds as Cuban in MLB

Cespedes Bucking Odds as Cuban in MLB

The first time Oakland Athletics rookie Yoenis Cespedes homered on U.S. soil, he stood and admired his 462-foot blast. The next day, Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez drilled him with a pitch.

As if absorbing a new language weren't hard enough, the Cuban defector also has to learn baseball's unwritten rules at the major league level.

"In Cuba when I hit a home run, one that I really hit well, I would stand and watch it and it was no big deal," Cespedes says in Spanish. "Here it's different. You stay there watching it and the next time up they hit you."

That's one of the countless daily lessons Cespedes — pronounced SAYS-peh-des — is assimilating as part of his indoctrination into life and baseball in the USA.

Another may come tonight as Cespedes and his fellow Cuban major leaguers may garner some unwanted attention as Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen returns from a team-imposed five-game suspension for comments praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

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