OAKLAND -- It has been a busy day already for the A’s on the injury front.
Earlier this afternoon, the A’s announced they’d acquired catcher Geovany Soto from the Rangers for cash considerations. The impetus for the move: John Jaso has experienced concussion symptoms for the past two weeks or so after taking a foul tip to the mask, and is likely headed to the concussion DL tomorrow.
As manager Bob Melvin said, that would have left the A’s with only one catcher who can really catch a full game, as Stephen Vogt is battling foot problems and Melvin said Vogt could only catch one or two innings in an emergency. So the A’s acquired Soto, a veteran catcher who has experience the past couple of seasons in a backup role.
The A’s announced that Soto is scheduled to join them Monday in Houston, at which point they’ll make the 25-man roster move, presumably with Jaso. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A’s transferred Kyle Blanks (Achilles tendinitis) to the 60-day DL.
Melvin said Soto "has a history of hitting and does a nice job, from what I hear and what I’ve seen from the other side, with pitchers and his rapport with pitchers. And has some experience (with what) wouldn’t be an everyday role, and how to prepare for it."
Closer Sean Doolittle, meanwhile, underwent an MRI this afternoon after experiencing tightness in his right side pitching the ninth inning last night. At the time, Doolittle said he didn’t think it would be an ongoing issue, and that the tightness had subsided mostly after the game.
It remained enough of an issue today, though, to warrant the MRI. And in a not-at-all-promising indication, reliever Dan Otero, who was recently optioned to Triple-A, is here at the Coliseum. The San Francisco Chronicle was reporting that Otero will be activated before tonight’s game, and that Doolittle is likely headed to the disabled list.
Melvin said he’ll likely mix-and-match in the late innings tonight, but that if Doolittle does have to miss an extended period of time, he would prefer to designate one reliever as a fill-in closer. "We’d probably try to match up today and then sit down and do what we think is best going forward," Melvin said. "We have plenty of candidates that could do it."
Also getting an MRI this afternoon -- Josh Donaldson, whom Melvin said tweaked his knee during his last at-bat Saturday night. Melvin said Donaldson felt the knee trying to get out of the way of a pitch. He lobbied to be in the lineup today, but the A’s want to take precaution with him, so it’s Alberto Callaspo at third base.
Here’s the A’s lineup against Angels right-hander Jered Weaver:
And the Angels’ lineup against A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir:
* For Jaso, the concussion symptoms are troubling given he missed nearly all of the second half last season with a severe concussion. Jaso said his current symptoms are "not as bad as last year," but that after the last injury, he and the A’s are more conscientious about trying to catch this problem early.
"I think it’s just that we’re more knowledgeable about it, so knowing to let this calm down and go away instead of going back there and wearing another (foul tip) and then being out for a long time," Jaso said. "I think it’s all about avoiding that."
Jaso said he couldn’t remember the exact game where he took the foul ball -- it was a Kazmir start -- but that it happened in the first inning "and it was solid." Jaso said he had headaches and nausea for three or four days after that, and while those symptoms went away, he has continued to experience "fuzziness."
"Like my eyesight, I just see a fuzzy white ball coming at me basically," Jaso said. "It’s still a little dizzy and woozy, so that stuff is still there."
Jaso said he’s in contact with concussion expert Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh, but that he isn’t scheduled to visit Collins. He took batting practice today and said he expects to be available tonight as a pinch hitter despite his symptoms.
"It’s not really bothering him hitting as much as catching," Melvin said. "But it’s something that we have to be very careful of. Now that he’s actually come out and said it’s been an issue, it’s an issue for him right now, we have to be proactive with that. It’s not something we can mess around with, especially with his history."
* Melvin said Donaldson’s availability off the bench tonight would depend on the results of his MRI, but that Donaldson was lobbying for Melvin to wait to fill out today’s lineup in hopes that he could start, so the hope is his knee issue is not serious.