By John Hickey
PHOENIX – John Jaso, who admired the Oakland A’s from afar last year, is admiring them from inside the clubhouse now.
Picked up in a trade from Seattle in a three-team deal that also included the Washington Nationals, Jaso comes to spring training in a likely catching platoon with Derek Norris.
While he was with the Mariners, Jaso said he couldn’t help but admire the performance put together by Oakland in coming from 13 games down to win the American League West. Jaso had been on a team with that kind of magic two years earlier when lightly regarded Tampa Bay bested the big boys in Boston and New York.
He looked back, with a little distress, at the Sept. 29 game in Oakland when the Mariners had a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. But Brandon Moss doubled in one run in the eighth, Josh Donaldson hit a one-out, game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and Moss came back with a game-winning three-run bomb to right in the 10th.
“It was amazing to what they were doing,’’ Jaso said of the A’s, who were in the middle of winning eight of their final nine games, including winning six of seven against the Rangers to oust Texas from the West title on the final day of the season.
Oakland was the first team in history to win a division title after trailing by five games with 10 days left in the season.
“We were so disappointed to lose,’’ Jaso said of the Mariners. “But I’d seen something like that happen playing for Tampa Bay. I was telling the guys in our clubhouse, that’s the kind of magic you should want to experience. And now I’m here.’’