OAKLAND -– Stephen Vogt is eager to get back to catching, and that might sound crazy if you saw footage of the foul tip that caught him squarely in the groin on Sept. 6. The A’s catcher called the aftermath of that injury “the worst 10 days of my life.” Still, he’s hoping to get behind the plate as soon as possible to clear a mental hurdle before entering the long offseason.
“I want to get back there right away to get the flinching out of the way,” Vogt said before Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. “Just so going into the winter I’m like, ‘All right, I got back in there and I’m fine.’ So I don’t show up to spring training and the first day I’m going to block and you’re nervous about it. For me, it’s a hurdle I’d like to get over sooner rather than later.”
He’s starting at first base Wednesday night, his first time playing in the field since the injury happened. Manager Bob Melvin reiterated that Vogt could return to catcher by this weekend’s Bay Bridge Series, but stressed that it’s entirely up to Vogt when he feels ready.
“It’s getting back down into the position,” said Melvin, an ex-catcher himself. “Once you start blocking balls and stuff, it certainly crosses your mind. It’s a pretty significant injury. But he’s a tough guy. Once he gets back there and does this thing, it’ll be more about just playing and not worrying about it.”
Vogt’s rationale is the shot he took was a “one-in-a-million type thing.”
“I don’t ever wanna go through it again, but at the same time, it’s either going to happen or it’s not.”
He said he’d also love to catch before the Coliseum crowd one more time this year, and would relish the chance to catch Barry Zito’s start Saturday, having also caught Zito here in the preseason Bay Bridge Series.
It was a day of honors for Vogt on Wednesday. He was the recipient of the A’s annual Dave Stewart Community Service award, which came on the heels of him being named the team’s candidate for the Roberto Clemente Award, which honors similar contributions.
“We’re major league baseball players. We have a platform and it’s our job to do stuff like that,” he said. “Whether we think we’re important, it doesn’t matter. People see ‘Oakland A’s’ next to your name and they give that credibility. So if you have that platform you should use it.”
Last but not least, Vogt was given the annual Good Guy Award, presented by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America for outstanding cooperation with the media throughout the season.
Melvin was asked his thoughts on the passing of Yankees legend Yogi Berra on Tuesday night.
“You think more about his quotes than anything else, but if you look at his numbers -- unbelievable really,” he said. “You look at the home runs, and so few strikeouts. … And the position he played too. The world championships. … This is truly one of the great players of all time.”