Cuban Sluggers Cespedes & Despaigne Shine a World Apart

By Circles Robinson

Alfredo Despaigne and Yoennis Cespedes of Granma were both on Cuba's 2009 World Baseball Classic Team.

HAVANA TIMES, March 29 — Two of the top Cuban batters, Yoennis Cespedes and Alfredo Despaigne, were at their best on Wednesday, but thousands of miles apart.

In Cuba, Despaigne connected two home runs in his team’s game against Artemisa to equal the all-time league home run mark at 33, set by Cespedes in a tie with Jose Dariel Abreu last year.

With 15 games to go in the Cuban League’s regular season, Despaigne is a sure thing to set a new record.

His team, Granma, has been hot in the second half of the season and is in the battle to make the playoffs.

Meanwhile in Japan, Cespedes began to earn his $36 million contract with the Oakland Athletics with a game deciding two-run homer in the seventh inning against Seattle.

The A’s played their first two games of the 2012 MLB season in Japan and will resume play on April 6th when the rest of the league begins play.

Playing centerfield, Cespedes is two-for-six in his first two Major League games.

The two outfielders played together and batted three-four in the lineup for their hometown team Granma, until last summer when Cespedes skipped out in search of a Major League contract.

Boxscore: Artemisa-Granma

Boxscore: Oakland-Seattle