MESA, Ariz. – The Cactus League season has arrived, and being a spectator isn’t Stephen Vogt’s idea of fun.
The A’s are limiting the catcher’s activity early in camp as he works back from October surgery to repair the plantar plate in his right foot. Manager Bob Melvin has said Vogt won’t play in games early in the exhibition season, but that he should be ready by Opening Night.
Vogt is wearing a protective plate in his shoe for support, but he says the foot feels great physically. He is catching bullpens and doing all other activity but he’s itchy to get into games.
“I just wanna play, that’s just the way I am,” Vogt said before the A’s Cactus League opener against the Giants. “I’m antsy to get to know these new pitchers and get to work with them in games. You can do all you want in intrasquads but it’s really not until you’re playing against other teams that you can really see how each pitcher likes to work.”
The assumed plan is for Vogt and the right-handed hitting Josh Phegley to share catching duties once the regular season starts. But until Vogt starts playing in exhibitions, Phegley will get plenty of playing time along with non-roster catcher Bryan Anderson. Three other non-roster catchers -- Carson Blair, Luke Carlin and Bruce Maxwell – provide depth as well.
Melvin said he expects Vogt’s throwing to be the last aspect of his game to round into form, and Vogt concurred.
“Just getting the rhythm back and feeling the push-off of the back foot again” will take a while, Vogt said. “Just with how limited I was this winter with throwing in general, it’s going to take my arm a little longer to get back to full strength.”