MESA, Ariz. – Both A’s catchers appear ahead of schedule on the injury front, as Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley are tentatively lined up to serve as DH’s in Friday’s split-squad games.
The news of Vogt getting in a game so soon is particularly noteworthy, as his recovery from elbow surgery was expected to keep him out until the second week of exhibitions. The A’s play their first game Thursday afternoon against the Angels.
Vogt’s recovery has been going very smooth, and manager Bob Melvin said it’s possible Vogt gets behind the plate for a game at some point next week. The A’s have said all along that Vogt should be ready for Opening Night.
Phegley has been limited in recent days by shoulder soreness, but he said he started throwing again Wednesday. Bruce Maxwell, who played last season at Double-A, is starting Thursday against the Angels, with Carson Blair the other primary catcher until Vogt and Phegley return.
There’s still no timetable for first baseman Mark Canha to appear in a game as he continues dealing with back soreness.
“Until he gets out and does some stuff you won’t see him in games,” Melvin said.
Part of what bothers Canha is rotating his back, and given that he takes a pretty aggressive swing at the plate, it’s easy to see how that could be a problem.
In other injury news, reliever J.B. Wendelken – who was acquired in the Brett Lawrie trade and is on the 40-man roster – is being held back by shoulder soreness, as Melvin said the A’s training staff is being extra cautious early in camp.
Sonny Gray and reliever John Axford will throw in a simulated game Friday, with Gray going three innings and Axford one. Gray is on a similar scaled-back routine early on as he was last spring, while Melvin said Axford prefers getting ready by facing hitters on the side before he gets into games.
Jarrod Parker was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday with Henderson Alvarez doing the same Friday.