Stephen Vogt said he has taken many foul balls off his protective cup during his years as a catcher – but none like the one that sent him to the hospital Sunday.
“This one was direct, 93 (mph) if not harder with the redirection from the bat,” Vogt said. “I’ve never been hit that directly with that much velocity. The pain is indescribable. Still I’m on pain medication, and I’m still not comfortable. This has been miserable the last few days.”
Vogt, though, said he considers himself “fortunate.” The foul ball to his groin area struck so hard it left a mark on his cup – but the cup did its job.
“I’m just lucky and fortunate that it wasn’t a surgery-requiring or a ‘removable’ injury, if that makes sense,” Vogt said. “Because those have happened.”
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Instead, Vogt was back on his feet and moving around the A’s clubhouse Wednesday – albeit a little gingerly. He said he’s trying to rest as much as possible and applying a lot of ice.
“Each day has been a little bit better,” he said.
Vogt has a reputation for being a magnet for foul tips, but even he was astonished by the circumstances of Sunday’s play. Drew Pomeranz threw a high fastball and Seattle’s Ketel Marte swung over the top of it, redirecting it downward and under Vogt’s outstretched glove.
“It was just kind of a freak, fluke thing,” Vogt said.
As he waits for the pain and swelling to subside, Vogt said he hasn’t talked with the A’s about when he might be able to play again. He will accompany the team on its upcoming trip and said there’s a chance he could resume some activities, such as jogging and hitting in the cage, after a few more days.
Catching, though, is another matter. “Right now, today, the thought of getting back there makes me nauseous,” Vogt said. “A week from now, we’ll see.”
Manager Bob Melvin said that when Vogt is ready to play, he’ll be eased into games as a pinch hitter or first baseman. Melvin said he fully expects Vogt to play again this season and that it could be as early as the end of the upcoming trip.
Wednesday, Vogt said he was “just happy to be back” with the team. With two catchers healthy, Melvin had 25-year-old Carson Blair making his first major-league start against the Houston Astros. Vogt said he was excited for Blair to get that opportunity.
“They always say you’re one foul tip away from starting in the big leagues,” Vogt said. “So hopefully he gets a chance to show what he can do.”
▪ Melvin also said he thinks that Chris Bassitt, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 26 because of a sore shoulder, will return for the A’s at some point this season – though whether in the rotation or bullpen is uncertain. Bassitt played catch from 75 feet Wednesday, throwing about 35 simulated pitches, Melvin said, and the A’s will likely start drawing up a schedule for his return Thursday.
“My guess is he will pitch before this season is over,” Melvin said. “Whether we try to stretch him out to get him to start right away, or we pitch him in the bullpen, we’re still kind of debating a little bit. But today was a good day for him.”
* The A’s are having Felix Doubront start Sunday in Texas, giving Sonny Gray an extra day between starts with Thursday’s off-day. Melvin said the A’s will likely juggle their rotation to get Gray an extra day at least once more before the end of the season.
Gray has thrown 1932/3 innings this season, closing on his career-high total of 219 from last year. Unlike last season, though, the A’s are not in a pennant race, and it would make sense to scale back the 25-year-old’s workload. Melvin did say that Gray probably had something left in the tank even after leaving his last start at 101 pitches.
“There’s no science in each and every year where your innings go,” Melvin said. “But we want to keep it (where) we’re comfortable with it. And where he is right now, we’re comfortable with it.”
▪ If you missed the news of the day, the A’s announced a two-year contract extension for Melvin through the 2018 season. The story can be found here.