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Vogt takes demotion to Sacramento hard, but with grace

It was a great spring for Stephen Vogt. Right up until Saturday, when he got the word he was being sent down to Triple-A Sacramento.

Catcher Stephen Vogt got the bad news Saturday he is off to Sacramento.

Catcher Stephen Vogt got the bad news Saturday he is off to Sacramento.

It wasn’t unexpected, even if it was undeserved. Manager Bob Melvin said it was perhaps the most difficult end-of-spring conversation he’d ever had with a player.

It wasn’t just that Vogt hit .364 with three homers and a dozen RBIs. It was that he’s developed a bond with the A’s pitching staff, he is genuinely liked by A’s teammates and he was a major part of the Oakland success the second half of 2013.

But the decision to go with two left-handed hitting first basemen, Brandon Moss and Daric Barton, meant the squeeze for roster space was on. Vogt, part of a three-man catching rotation last year, was odd man out when the A’s went with two catchers, John Jaso and Derek Norris, leaving Vogt to start in Sacramento.

And he took it hard. He badly wanted to be in Oakland, to the point where “you never want to believe it will happen until it happens,’’ he said.

Melvin took it hard, too.

“He tried to prove he belongs here,’’ Melvin said. “And he did. It’s tough on us all. Will he be here at some point this season? I don’t see how he can’t be.’’

“I’m looking forward to the day I come back,’’ Vogt said.

For that to happen, a roster shift will be needed. As long as the A’s are going to use Barton at first base and Moss as the designated hitter (or vice versa), there isn’t going to be room for a third catcher. And while most teams don’t carry three catchers, the A’s could do it by using Jaso as the primary left-handed DH.

But that would kick Barton off the roster, and that’s not something the A’s are ready to do. So Vogt, who had options where Barton did not, was left to speak with a breaking voice about coming up short.

“It’s a business,’’ he said. “I know that. And I love these guys. That makes it a tough day to get this kind of news.’’

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.

  • Justin

    Barton is junk, send him to Mexico.

  • taylor

    Vogt is 10x better than jaso

  • Carl Elftman

    To bad Barton is staying I enjoyed Vogt playing, play hard andcome bwck soon.

  • Jay Mo

    I would much rather have Vogt driving in runs instead of Bartons amazing gymnastics stretch any day :/