Programming note: A’s-Mariners coverage starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SEATTLE –- There was a time when the A’s had more catching depth than they knew what to do with.
Due to an assortment of injuries, it’s down to Derek Norris as the only experienced, healthy catcher at manager Bob Melvin’s disposal.
That means it’s time to get familiar with Bryan Anderson. Acquired from Cincinnati in a minor league trade Aug. 24, the 27-year-old Anderson has just 35 games in the bigs under his belt. But he’s the current No. 2 catcher with Geovany Soto out for the time being with back spasms.
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Soto hurt himself while blocking a pitch and getting up to throw to first Friday night on a second-inning strikeout of Seattle’s Brad Miller.
Melvin said Soto probably won’t be available the rest of this series and will be re-evaluated after Monday’s day off.
“When I took a deep breath, I felt it” Friday night, Soto said. “I got to the dugout, and it locked up. Hopefully in a couple days (he’ll be available). I’m just on medication right now.”
Anderson, a left-handed hitter who was a fourth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2005, has hit .210 in his brief major league exposure with the Cardinals and Chicago White Sox. He said he’s doing all he can to learn Oakland’s pitching staff and stay sharp with extra batting practice.
Norris is hitting eighth Saturday night against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez and Melvin said he’s inclined to start Norris in Sunday’s day game as well because the A’s are off Monday.
“I don’t know about a start (for Anderson) in the next two days,” Melvin said. “But he’s definitely a consideration. He does a lot of homework. He’s preparing for a potential opportunity. Now he’s the second catcher. If I had to use him tonight, I wouldn’t hesitate doing it.”
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The A’s catching depth has been hit hard in recent weeks. John Jaso is back in the Bay Area recuperating from after-effects of a concussion, and Stephen Vogt is out with a badly sprained left ankle. Vogt also has battled a sore right foot that’s prevented him from being able to catch since early July.
There’s no word when either might return, and Melvin said the A’s are simply trying to get Jaso on a comfortable sleeping pattern after his most recent concussion. He’s not doing any baseball activity right now.
Another A’s player recovering from a concussion, outfielder Craig Gentry, rode an exercise bike for the second consecutive day, and Melvin said Gentry felt better after doing so Saturday than he did Friday.