A’s Jaso has put concussion issues behind him; Melvin will give him another shot behind the plate

You may have read that John Jaso will head into spring training as the leading contender for the A’s designated hitter chores this year.

Jaso has read it, over and over again. Such is the power of the internet.

But the veteran catcher, whose contract with Oakland for the 2014 season was just finalized, doesn’t take all that talk all that seriously.

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9×9: Non-tender deadline could reshape A’s

The A’s have some serious decisions to make before the evening is over.

The club has nine men on the roster who are arbitration eligible and by 9 p.m. this evening Oakland must decide which of the nine will be tendered contracts.

The group includes pitchers Jerry Blevins, Jesse Chavez and Fernando Rodriguez, catcher John Jaso, first basemen Daric Barton and Brandon Moss, shortstop Jed Lowrie and outfielders Josh Reddick and Seth Smith.

Those players who are tendered contracts are those the club is willing to go to salary arbitration with, although typically the A’s like to avoid arbitration whenever possible. Non-tendered players become free agents.

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Stephen Vogt does where Crash Davis never did

If you don’t think there is something wonderful and downright fun about baseball in the playoffs, then you haven’t met Stephen Vogt.

And if you had seen Vogt six months ago, you wouldn’t have seen someone destined for the limelight. You would have seen a man not feeling the wonder, not feeling the fun, just walking through a shopping mall in Durham, N.C., not far from where another minor league catcher, Crash Davis, made a name for himself.

At the time Vogt had close to 1,900 minor league at-bats in which he averaged .299, but in his only 25 at-bats in the big leagues he was a whopping zero, zilch, nada, nyet for 25.

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Vogt goes from outhouse to penthouse; A’s will turn some pitchers loose on hitters in BP

The A’s will be carrying three catchers in the first round of the American League Division Series.

That one of them is Stephen Vogt is not a surprise at this point, Vogt having more than proved himself since … well, since almost being out of baseball earlier this year.

He was in spring training with Tampa Bay, but the Rays didn’t have a spot for someone who was 0-for-25 as a rookie in 2012. The A’s picked him up for a few bucks at a point in April where the Rays seemed destined to cut him loose.

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Game 160 wrapup: Cespedes shoulder trouble an issue for A’s; Norris homer-or-nothing in pinch; Cook getting back to form out of the bullpen

The A’s started Friday with a good idea of how they’d be structuring their starting lineup in the playoffs.

Then they played the first game of their final series with the Mariners and things changed dramatically.

The idea was that Yoenis Cespedes, who hadn’t been in left field since Sept. 13, was once again healthy, able to throw and ready to man his position. He’d play all three games in left this weekend to get himself ready for the playoffs.

That meant the resurrected Daric Barton was ready to play first base and Brandon Moss, who can play both first base and the outfield, was going to be the designated hitter. He was in Friday’s lineup as the DH, the first time all season that’s happened.

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Game 156 wrapup: Beane says depth crucial to A’s West title; Crisp surprises himself with 20-20 output; This celebration means more to Sogard

The fact that the A’s were able to clinch the American League West title on Sunday, the final home date of the regular season, worked out well for Billy Beane.

Securing the title meant the A’s general manager could stay at home and not join the team Monday in Anaheim for a possible clinching party there. Beane isn’t much for road trips these days.

As it was, Beane stayed mostly out of the clubhouse celebration Sunday and was uncontaminated by the sprays of champagne and beer that coated most of the rest of the members of his organization.

He was with his twins, Brayden and Tinsley, when I caught up with him far from the madding crowd.

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Game 128 wrapup: Parker undefeated streak now at 16 games; Suzuki fits right back in behind plate

The last time the A’s Jarrod Parker lost a game, Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger seemed like a good idea, Kurt Suzuki was playing for the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants were tied for first place in the National League West.

The Lone Ranger is Hollywood’s flop of the year, the Giants are dead last in the NL West and Suzuki is now back in an Oakland uniform.

Yes, time flies and things change when you are a Major League pitcher with a string of 16 consecutive starts without a loss.

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Jaso is anxious to play, but there’s no timetable

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.

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Game 110 wrapup: Crisp could be getting ready for a hot streak; Vogt hit hard, but no concussion; Jaso won’t be making road trip

It’s been a long, slow month or so for Coco Crisp.

Is it possible things are starting changing for the A’s center fielder?

He had a double, a walk and an RBI Friday against the Rangers. He came back with a bunt single in the first inning Saturday to get a three-run rally going, then singled in the seventh inning with a man at second, setup up the A’s final run.

Crisp came into July with a .274 average. He came into August at .248, although he’s tacked on three points in the first two games of the month.

More than that, A’s manager Bob Melvin sees improved contact from his leadoff man.

However, Melvin said that it was Crisp’s first-inning bunt that might light a fuse in the center fielder’s batting average.

“It can be the kind of thing that gets him going,’’ Melvin said. “But he has been hitting it on the screws two or three times a game latterly. I think he’s swinging way better (than his batting average).

“It looks to me like he’s ready to (take off).’’

The A’s could use some of that. Crisp is as critical a piece of the A’s offense as there is. When he gets on, the A’s win consistently. When he doesn’t, which has been the case for over four weeks, the offense lacks consistently good production. It’s no coincidence that the A’s averaged 130 runs per month with Crisp generally doing well at the plate and then scored just 93 in the month of July.

–Stephen Vogt was taken out of the game in the ninth inning after he got hit in the head by a bat swung by Rangers’ third baseman Jurickson Profar in the seventh and took a foul ball off his mask about the same time.

He was checked out after the game and there are, unlike fellow catcher John Jaso, no concerns about concussion.

“I’m feeling good,’’ Vogt said in the A’s clubhouse after the game. “It’s not a case of concussion. They did some testing after I left the game.’’

More than anything, Vogt said he couldn’t believe Profar could hit him with his swing. Vogt as a general rule sets up deep in the batter’s box, and still the free-swinging Profar was able to make contact with Vogt’s batting helmet.

“I don’t know how he did that,’’ Vogt said. “I don’t exactly set up close to the plate.’’

Melvin, himself a former catcher, said the case of Jaso battling concussion has heightened the awareness the team has of the perils of catching, which is why Derek Norris caught the last inning.

“We’re hoping it’s nothing,’’ Melvin said, adding that it was better to be cautious in a case like this.


–Jaso said after the game that while his in-game tests suggest his concussion symptoms are lessening, but that doesn’t mean he’s any closer to getting on the field.

He’s certain he’s not going to be ready to fly with the A’s on Monday when they head to Cincinnati for two games and again Wednesday when they head on to Toronto for four more games.

“It went good,’’ Jaso said. “I really don’t think I’ll be making the trip, though.’’

Jaso was hit on the mask by foul balls three consecutive days in Houston last week. He went on the special 7-day disabled list set aside for concussion victims, but it’s been 10 days and counting and he’s not cleared to do any baseball-related activities.

That may change. The tests Saturday will be evaluated by an outside specialist in concussions, Micky Collins in Pittsburgh, and he will advise the A’s on what the next step should be regarding Jaso.


Game 108 wrapup: Jaso unlikely to catch this weekend; Donaldson feeling better about swing; Vogt disappointed as passed balls lead to loss

John Jaso has put in his seven days, but his time on the seven-day disabled list isn’t up yet.

The seven-day DL is designed specifically for players fighting off the effects of concussions, injuries that are significant but don’t necessarily need the 15 days that is otherwise the minimum.

It turns out that in Jaso’s case, seven days isn’t enough. Talking after the game Wednesday, the veteran catcher said he thought it was unlikely that he would be playing this weekend.

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