'No flinching' for Jaso after bout with concussion
A's catcher has already caught a few bullpen sessions prior to heading to Arizona
OAKLAND -- Six weeks removed from getting the green light for all baseball activity, John Jaso is prepped to enter camp in a few days free of any concussion symptoms.
The A's catcher, who missed the final two months of the season and the postseason last year because of a concussion sustained in July, has been following his normal offseason schedule after being cleared by Dr. Michael Collins.
He's even caught a few bullpen sessions already, claiming with a smile, "No flinching."
"It's a relief," said Jaso, his previously long locks cut short. "[Dr. Collins] was telling me I'm basically going to be back to where I was before the concussion. A lot of people take it too fast and re-injure the previous concussion, rather than letting it heal. I'll be fine because I let it heal, so he basically said, 'Go get em,' which is a relief, because I don't want to come back to Spring Training and have question marks.
"Toss me right back into the fire."
"That's just awesome to hear," said another A's catcher, Stephen Vogt. "When he got hurt last year, that was scary. You never want to see that, so it's great to see he has no symptoms or side effects. It's good for him, and it's good for us, because we missed him in the lineup last year when he was out."
The 30-year-old Jaso hit .271 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 70 games in a season that ended July 25, drawing all of his starts against right-handers as part of a rather strict platoon. He added 38 walks for a .387 on-base percentage, which ranked fifth in the American League among players with 200 or more plate appearances.
He is now one of four catchers on the A's roster, next to Vogt, Derek Norris and Chris Gimenez, and Oakland could very well opt to carry as many as three when the season opens. If it does, Jaso is likely to see the majority of his at-bats at designated hitter, allowing the A's to be cautious with his health.
They could use a DH, anyway, following the trade of Seth Smith this winter.
"Absolutely he could see time there," said manager Bob Melvin. "We don't try to get locked into a full-time DH situation, because Coco [Crisp]'s going to need his days off, and [Yoenis] Cespedes will need his days off. We have some guys who play awfully hard, so we do like to rotate the DH spot."
"I don't really care what I do," Jaso said. "I would like to catch, but I just like being on the 25-man roster more. I'd like to get at-bats, so whatever they want to do, I'm cool with. I'd like to go to the postseason again, is what I really want to do."