OAKLAND -- Yoenis Cespedes has been hitting the ball hard but has nothing to show for it. He ended a career-worst 0-for-16 skid last Sunday but was 2-for-15 entering Saturday's game.
"That can be very frustrating," A's manager Bob Melvin said before Saturday's contest against the Royals. "He hit three balls on the nose: one to third base and two to center field. When he's swinging the bat well he's using the whole field, so that's a good sign."
Over the past nine games, Cespedes was hitting .088 (3-for-34) while the A's went 3-6. Yes, A's fans, there is a correlation.
The good news is that Cespedes had not struck out in six straight games, matching his career best from last June.
"He felt good at batting practice and seemed to have a renewed sense of well-being," Melvin said. "His at-bats are getting a lot better."
A's activate Young from disabled list
OAKLAND -- As expected, outfielder Chris Young was activated from the disabled list and was penciled into the starting lineup against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
"It's only been two weeks, but it feels like two months," Young said. "I'm comfortable going out to play."
Young played in one rehab game with the Sacramento River Cats, getting a hit and walking twice. He left the game after five innings with cramps.
Young said leaving the game was just a precautionary measure. Had it been a regular-season game in Oakland, he would have hydrated and kept playing.
On Friday, he put his left quad muscle to the test in the Oakland outfield, just to put his mind at ease.
"I wanted to get as close to game speed as I could and push myself," Young said. "I achieved that. Now it's time to get past the injury."
With Young back, Barton designated for assignment
OAKLAND -- Daric Barton was the odd man out when the A's activated Chris Young on Saturday. For the second time in his seven years with the Oakland A's, Barton was designated for assignment.
The logical choice might have been to send catcher Luke Montz down, but John Jaso remained a little sore after getting hit by a pitch on his right shin bone.
Barton has spent all seven of his Major League seasons with the A's, owning a .248 career average. He was hitting .143 with one home run in eight games this season.
"We made the decision for a number of reasons," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "For our sake, I'd like to see him clear waivers. But if he's picked up, he'd have to be brought up to the Majors."
Barton's career with the A's reached a crescendo in 2010, when he achieved career highs in average (.273), home runs (10), RBIs (57), walks (110), stolen bases (7), hits (152) and games (159).
"He did a nice job while he was here," Melvin said. "I know the numbers don't show that."
• Outfielder Josh Reddick (sprained right wrist) has begun swinging the bat with no setbacks. He is eligible to come off the disabled list in time to join the A's in Houston on May 24.
• Shortstop Hiro Nakajima has been on a rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats since May 3. The A's are pleased with his progress defensively and would like him to gain some consistency in his offense before making a decision on him.
• American ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich was honored before Saturday's game and was given an autographed baseball, signed by the entire team.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.