OAKLAND -- Two injured A’s players made steps forward in their recoveries today.
Catcher John Jaso (concussion) was scheduled to hit on the field for the first time since going on the disabled list and said beforehand he thinks "coming back in the near future is a good possibility."
Jaso had been doing mostly stationary conditioning work -- weights and riding a bike -- while the A’s were on the road. Monday, he shagged fly balls during batting practice and hit in the cage. He’d previously said that before going on the DL, he was having vision problems where pitches appeared blurry, and that that was no longer the case while in the cage for soft toss Monday.
Overall, Jaso said, he’s feeling better than a week ago, when he was still experiencing headaches and general "fuzziness," as he put it. "There definitely been progress made since the team left," he said today. "I was pretty bad then. Now I’m waking up and feeling normal."
That’s good news for Jaso, who still hopes to help the A’s in September. While the A’s will wait to set a return time for Jaso until he is cleared by doctors, manager Bob Melvin said, the hope is Jaso won’t have missed so much time that he needs significant at-bats to get up to speed. Minor-league regular seasons will be over, and Melvin said the A’s may have to simply simulate at-bats for Jaso during their own pitchers’ bullpen sessions.
Closer Sean Doolittle (strained intercostal muscle), meanwhile, played catch today for the first time since his injury. Doolittle said he threw from out to 90 feet and it "went really well." Doolittle is still not putting timetables to his return.
Melvin said center fielder Coco Crisp (strained neck) received another round of trigger-point injections today. The procedure seemed to help Crisp a lot during his last bout with the neck injury, and Melvin said he and the A’s hope it will help again.
Here’s the A’s lineup tonight against Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton:
And the Mariners’ lineup against A’s right-hander Sonny Gray:
* You’ll notice Nate Freiman back in the A’s lineup against the left-hander. Freiman and pitcher Drew Pomeranz were both recalled today from Single-A Beloit, where they were recently optioned with the purpose of recalling them as soon as Beloit’s season ended.
Freiman figures to return to his role of starting at first base against lefties. Melvin said that Pomeranz will pitch out of the bullpen, where he’s something of a unique presence for the A’s.
"He’s a lefty that allows you to maybe turn the lineup around, he’s gotten right-handers out too, and he gives you some length, so he’s not a guy you feel like you have to throw him int here for an inning and then get him out of there," Melvin said. "He could be a key piece for us."
* Melvin said despite Adam Dunn’s smashing debut Monday, in which Dunn homered on his first swing with the A’s, there was no real consideration of having Dunn in the lineup today. Dunn has just 52 at-bats against left-handers this season, and has eight hits in those at-bats for a .154 average.
"We brought him in for a specific role and he knew that," Melvin said. "We talked about it with him yesterday. But it also allows you to use him in-game like we do, maybe in more of a leverage type situation."