Jemile Weeks represented himself well during the traditional Japanese ceremonial first pitch. Then he showed why the A’s are excited to have the young second baseman in the leadoff role.
Weeks had a pair of hits and drove in two runs as the A’s blanked the Yomiuri Giants 5-0 on Sunday in Tokyo. The game is part of the exhibitions against Japanese teams before the A’s and Seattle Mariners play a two-game set to open the regular season Wednesday and Thursday.
As for the pregame festivities, it is tradition in Japan for the ceremonial first pitch to be thrown to the opposing team’s leadoff hitter. Local star Kazuya Kamenashi threw a pitch that was outside, but Weeks still made it a good show by casually swinging and missing.
“I didn’t know who he was at first,” Weeks told MLB.com, “but he’s some big-time celebrity out here. For me to have that opportunity, it was an honor for me.”
Left-hander Tom Milone, slated to be the A’s No. 3 starter, pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits and walking none while striking out seven. Four relievers combined for four hitless innings to finish off the shutout.
Kurt Suzuki homered and Josh Reddick had two hits for the A’s, who unveiled what is likely their Opening Day lineup. The top part of the order is loaded with speed with Weeks, shortstop Cliff Pennington and left fielder Coco Crisp before cleanup hitter Seth Smith.
However, rookie center fielder Yoenis Cespedes — who was in the No. 5 spot in the order — left the game after seven innings due to a quadriceps cramp and did not play in today’s exhibition against the Hanshin Tigers.
WHEN: Wednesday, 3:10 a.m.; Thursday, 2:10 a.m.
WHERE: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
TV: MLB Network (tape-delayed)
RADIO: KGMZ (95. 7 FM)