The way the season started, John Jaso was going to be the regular behind the plate against right-handed pitchers for the A’s and Derek Norris would be there against lefties.
Norris is still there against lefties, witness his starts the last two nights against San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner and Mike Kickham, but he’s getting more playing time against right-handers, too.
It’s not that Jaso isn’t playing. It’s that with Luke Montz on the roster as a third catcher, manager Bob Melvin can feel safe using two catchers in the same lineup, so Jaso frequently serves as DH when Norris catches.
That combination has been trotted out seven times in the A’s last 21 games.
What it’s meant is that Norris is getting more time behind the plate than he would have expected coming out of spring training, and that’s made him more confident, and his pitchers more confident in him.
“I think the way things have been going, it shows that the pitchers have a lot of trust in what I’m doing,’’ he said. “I know each guy goes in with a game plan, but I spend a lot of time in the video room studying the other hitters, I do my homework, and they can be confident when I put down the signal that it’s the right pitch.’’
Pitchers haven’t shaken off many of Norris’ pitches lately – Jarrod Parker shook off Norris just twice Tuesday – although you wouldn’t always know that.
“I’ll give them a `fake shake,’ ’’ Norris said, letting his pitchers appear to be shaking him off when they really aren’t. “It gets the hitters thinking. Mostly, it shows that the pitchers have a lot of trust in me.’’