Yoenis Cespedes, the 26-year-old Cuban defector who signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the A's, was not expected to play in an exhibition game for several days.
"(I am) happy to be able to take my first step of my dream to play in the major leagues," Cespedes said through translator (and A's roving minor league infield instructor) Juan Navarrete at his press conference.
The A's were glad to welcome him after all the hype, as well, as several players greeted him in the clubhouse.
The outfielder is expected to be ready for his first exhibition game in five or six days. Traditionally a center fielder, Cespedes could move center fielder Coco Crisp to left field, but said he would be fine playing wherever needed.
General manager Billy Beane and manager Bob Melvin said those decisions will be made later, as Cespedes is not assured of starting the season in the majors.
"I haven't seen him out on the field doing baseball drills, and that's what you wait for," Melvin told reporters. "We hear he's a heck of an athlete."
Cespedes took his BP session with Ramirez and also chatted up the veteran in the outfield.
The rookie outfielder acknowledged he would have to make many adjustments as he began his first official day as a major leaguer.
"It will take time," he said through the translator. "I'll adjust and perform the way people expect me to play."
To make room for Cespedes on the A's 40-man roster, the team placed injured third baseman Scott Sizemore on the 60-day disabled list. Sizemore will miss the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
In other injury news, first baseman Daric Barton had an MRI exam and a cortisone shot before spring games started after developing some soreness in his surgically repaired right shoulder. Barton was not expected to begin throwing until mid-March, so the small setback probably pushes that timetable back, limiting Barton to DH duty in games and potentially keeping him from winning the first-base job out of camp.
Two of Barton's main competitors for the first base job had big games on Sunday versus the Chicago Cubs. Brandon Allen, who got the start at first, had seven RBIs, including four on a grand slam. Chris Carter got the start at designated hitter and went 2-for-4 with a walk. His double in the ninth inning was the key hit in the A's game-winning rally. Oakland defeated Chicago 12-10.
The A's dropped their first exhibition game on Friday to Seattle, but won on Saturday and Sunday. Infielder Eric Sogard has hit two homeruns already this spring. He is battling Adam Rosales for a spot as the A's main utility infielder.