Is it time for Derek Norris to get more playing time?
If it’s not now, it never will be. The catcher doubled in his first two at-bats Tuesday, driving in three runs while leading the A’s offense to a 9-3 win over Texas.
He’s 13-for-27 over his last nine games and with four consecutive multiple-hit games, he has eight hits in his last 13 at-bats.
The thing is, Norris is a right-hander and as such gets to play against left-handed starting pitching such as Martin Perez of the Rangers, who came into Tuesday as the American League’s ERA leader.
That’s the way the system works. Right-handed batters face lefty pitchers. Left-handed batters, like the A’s other catcher, John Jaso, face right-handed pitchers.
And there are simply many more right-handers than left-handers in the game.
“We do it a certain way here. But he’s doing very well,’’ manager Bob Melvin said of Norris. “You’ve seen he’s started some games against some right-handers and had some big at-bats against right-handers.’’
You could say so. Norris came into Tuesday with a .400 average against right-handed pitchers before going hitless in one at-bat against a right-hander out of the Rangers’ bullpen Tuesday.
It would make sense for Norris to get more at-bats against right-handers. But while Jaso only has a .333 on-base percentage against right-handers is a small sample size this year, he had a.405 on-base percentage against them last year, and it would be unlike the A’s brain trust to mess with a system that has the A’s off to a 17-10 record and a two-game lead in the division.
So the platoon goes on.
“The better you do, the more reps you’ll get,’’ Melvin said. “We’re going to see a bunch of left-handers coming up.’’
Norris can only hope so.