Friday evening produced a win for the A’s, but they also seem to have dodged a bullet regarding catcher Derek Norris.
He’s been hit repeatedly by bats on backswings this month and has been able to soldier through.
He was winged by a foul tip in the sixth inning. Manager Bob Melvin and the training staff checked him out, but Norris convinced them he was good to go. However when the seventh inning began, Norris had been replaced by Stephen Vogt.
“I didn’t want to come out; I never want to come out,’’ Norris said. “But when I came back to the dugout, it really tightened up on me. And it got to the point where I didn’t want to risk me messing up.
“If I wasn’t healthy, I didn’t want to mess up on a ball for Cookie (reliever Ryan Cook). I told Walt (assistant trainer Walt Horn) that it was tightening up, and he said, `well, let’s go get some ice on it.’’
Stephen Vogt came off the bench to catch the game’s last three innings. The A’s are in good shape to handle catching injuries because they also have a third catcher, John Jaso.
Norris might have gotten Saturday’s game against Rubby De La Rosa off, and likely would start against lefty Jon Lester on Sunday. Jaso and Vogt are both left-handed, but Melvin could go with one of those against a lefty if the need arose without feeling too bad about it.
“The X-rays came back fine,’’ Norris said. “There’s nothing extremely wrong with it. Let’s see how it feels tomorrow.’’
The ball hit the left forearm below the bone.
Norris was hitless in three at-bats Friday but still is batting .301 and with eight homers and 34 RBIs has been as productive as any catcher in the American League.