John Jaso’s original inclination was to play through the pain and discomfort caused by foul balls off his mask three consecutive games in Houston July 22-24 resulting in a concussion.
It seemed sensible at the time. Jaso had had concussions before. He’d experienced headaches and a little dizziness, but it was nothing disabling. So Jaso balked at being held out of the lineup and wasn’t happy to go on the seven-day disabled list, which is reserved exclusively for concussion victims.
The idea is that concussions aren’t to be messed with, but neither do they generally need the standard 15 days the disabled list usually affords.
But Wednesday will mark four weeks since Jaso was last in a game. He has started hitting a ball off a tee, but that’s about it. He’s flown to Pittsburgh to see one of the country’s top athletic concussion specialists, Dr. Michael Collins. Jaso was scheduled on the phone Monday night with Collins and his staff to an update on his progress.
So far, it’s beginning to look as if Jaso won’t be playing again until September, leaving it to Derek Norris and minor league callup Stephen Vogt to handle the catching duties.
That’s a lot of time off for an injury Jaso thought might not need any down time at all.
“I had some hesitation about going on the disabled list,’’ Jaso said. “I really wanted to keep on playing. But it’s pretty clear to me now that this was the right thing to do.’’
The inability to play is wearing thin on the veteran catcher. The A’s had a three-game lead in the American League West after winning on the 24th, and Oakland came into Monday one-half game behind Texas in the division.
“It would be easier to deal with if we weren’t doing well,’’ Jaso said. “If we were 20 games back, I could just sit and wait. But we’re winning, and I want to contribute to the playoff push. I want to do my part to help.’’
In addition to hitting off a tee, Jaso is doing eye exercises that he says have made a beneficial difference.
“But there’s still no timetable (for a return),’’ he said, “and I don’t know when there will be.’’
It’s unlikely that he will leave Thursday with the team on a road trip to Baltimore and Detroit.