PHOENIX With backward cap, scruffy beard and shaggy hairdo, new A's catcher John Jaso resembled a tamed-down version of wacky right fielder Josh Reddick on Friday.
The beard's getting shaved soon, and there's no way Jaso will even attempt to keep up with Reddick's clubhouse antics.
In late September, Jaso watched from the visiting side as Oakland rallied for yet another walk-off win in a season defined by game-ending hits and whipped-cream-pie celebrations yes, probably delivered by Reddick.
The A's stunned Jaso's Seattle Mariners 7-4 on Brandon Moss' three-run homer in the 10th inning that day, and Oakland used a fantastic finish the rest of the way to capture the American League West.
Silently, Jaso was rooting for those guys in green and gold across the diamond. He appreciated their fight to do anything to stay in the playoff chase, when nobody expected them to top the Texas Rangers at the end. The A's became the first team in major-league history to win a division or pennant after trailing by five games with less than 10 to play.
Jaso was as surprised by the late-season rally as the rest of the baseball world.
"No, I couldn't (believe it)," Jaso said. "Playing against them last year was pretty cool to watch. Guys were getting down on our side because they came back and won (the 10-inning game). Guys on our side were so disappointed watching and losing those heartbreaking games.
"I was like, 'Man, that's like what it's all about, that's the magic over there, that's what you should want to happen.''
Oakland acquired Jaso in a three-team trade last month that landed him on his third club in as many years. He spent last season with Seattle after his first three years in the majors were with Tampa Bay.
A left-handed hitter, the 29-year-old Jaso batted .276 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs last year as a top guy against right-handers.
A's closer Grant Balfour, sidelined following arthroscopic right knee surgery Thursday, should have a smooth transition with the new backstop once he's healthy again. Jaso caught Balfour when both were with the Rays.
"It's definitely nice to know who you're throwing to," Balfour said. "Jaso, he was good with me. He's one of the hardest-working guys. He's really dedicated to playing this game, and he's a catcher who really wants to work on his game."
Balfour sat on a table in the training room Friday sporting a smile a day after undergoing the surgery that is expected to sideline him four to six weeks.
Oakland's position players report today, with the first full-squad workout set for Sunday.