A’s manager Bob Melvin had some good news Monday on Stephen Vogt, who left Sunday’s game and was hospitalized after taking a foul ball to the groin area while catching.
Vogt underwent tests, including an ultrasound, that showed no structural damage, Melvin said. The catcher is scheduled for another ultrasound to make sure, since there was “a lot of swelling,” but Melvin said Vogt is home and resting “as comfortably as you can rest at this point.”
“He won’t be here today,” Melvin said. “ And we’ll have a better idea in the coming days when he would be available again.”
For now, that leaves the A’s with two healthy catchers in Josh Phegley and Carson Blair, who was pressed into his major-league debut Sunday when Vogt left in the eighth inning. Melvin said the A’s feel OK with that setup for now having seen Blair catch the Oakland pitchers in spring training.
“Usually with a guy like that, you’re most concerned about the catching and throwing and receiving and all that part of it,” Melvin said. “We saw enough of that in spring training to be very comfortable with that end of it. And at points during the season this year, he’s swung the bat very well, too.”
The A’s could add another catcher with expanded September rosters – though they would need to make a 40-man move, as they have no other catchers currently on the 40-man roster – but Melvin said the A’s want to get a better idea of Vogt’s timetable before potentially making that move.
▪ One player who apparently will not be called up before the end of the season: starting pitcher Barry Zito. Zito was activated from the DL at Triple-A Nashville and threw one scoreless inning Sunday in what could be his last appearance of the year. But as the San Francisco Chronicle reported over the weekend, and as Melvin confirmed Monday, the A’s aren’t eyeing Zito as a potential roster addition for the final month.
“I think we’re talking about maybe a couple more position players,” Melvin said. “But from my understanding, that’s about it.”
Zito told the Chronicle he would stay on a throwing program to keep the option open of pitching again next season. The left-hander took the 2014 season off before returning to the A’s on a minor-league deal this year and spending the entire season with Nashville, where he compiled an 8-7 record with a 3.46 ERA in 24 games.
“He put together a great season this year,” Melvin said. “He’s probably trying to keep his options open for himself next year. And getting back and pitching an inning (Sunday) I’m sure makes him feel a little bit better – as it will other clubs and us knowing that he was able to come back and pitch and end the season healthy.”
▪ Tuesday night’s pitching matchup should be a good one: A’s right-hander Sonny Gray against former A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir, now with Houston. Gray and Kazmir grew close over the past two seasons before Oakland dealt Kazmir to the Astros in July, and it sounds as if the good-natured trash-talking already has begun.
“At least at the beginning it was kind of a mentorship between Kaz and Sonny, where now it’s probably a little bit more of a friendship,” Melvin said. “(But) I don’t know if there’s anybody in the game that Sonny looks up to more than Scott Kazmir.”
Gray was noticeably downcast the day the A’s traded Kazmir, which Melvin said was natural given their relationship but also really a first for Gray given his young age.
“He’s been with one team, and when you have a guy that you’re that close to leave, it affects you,” Melvin said. “Down the road, he’ll understand a little bit more so, but the first time your best buddy ends up getting traded away, there’s a little (adjustment).”
▪ The matinee series opener is a matchup of A’s left-hander Felix Doubront and Astros right-hander Mike Fiers. The lineup for the A’s:
And the Astros: