A's notes: Jaso close to returning, playing hot, etc.

A's-Cards foreshadowing World Series showdown?

A's notes: Jaso close to returning, playing hot, etc.
June 28, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Catcher John Jaso is hitting .276 for the A's this year with two home runs and 19 RBI. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

OAKLAND -- Circumstances are giving Stephen Vogt a chance to impress at the major league level, but he could be running out of time.

"Someone different will start (Saturday)," manager Bob Melvin said Friday after penciling Vogt into his starting lineup for the third consecutive game.

[NEWS: A's lineup: Another start for Vogt]

Vogt, 28, was acquired by the A's from Tampa Bay in April, and he was called up on Tuesday with John Jaso plagued by an injured wrist and Derek Norris struggling at the plate.

He remains hitless in seven trips to the plate, and Jaso, who is already available to pinch hit, is expected to return to the starting lineup before the three-game series against the Cardinals ends on Sunday.

"We'll definitely be out of the woods with (Jaso) once we get through with this series," Melvin said. "But it could be in this series that he gets his start. "

Jaso, 29, hasn't started since June 20 in Texas, although he was able to pinch hit for Norris on Sunday and stay in for five innings of defense. He's hitting .276 for the A's this year with two home runs and 19 RBI.

Norris isn't faring as well at the plate in his sophomore season, as the 24-year old is batting .188 (31-for-165) with three home runs and 15 RBI. He's hitting .241 against lefties, but only .134 against right-handed pitchers, and Melvin acknowledged that the majority of the catcher's playing time in the near future will come against southpaws.

It's a very difficult thing for a young player who isn't seeing consistent playing time pull himself out of a slump, but Melvin sees the silver lining.

"You have some time to work on some things and have a little separation from what has been a tough period for him," Melvin said. "It's no fun, the guy wants to play all the time."

Despite the limited playing time and production, the A's aren't wavering on what they expect from the man they acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade.

"We still feel like he is our catcher of the future here," Melvin said.

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The big hitters in the A's-Cardinals series are salivating over the weather. It's a clean 80 degrees in Oakland, and it feels hot.

"When it's warmer at night, the ball carries a little more here," Melvin said. "Hitters certainly like to see when it's hot here, because the ball does carry more."

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The Cardinals share baseball's best record with the Pirates at 48-30.

They lead the National League with a .275 team batting average, an amazing .337 team average with runners in scoring position, 388 runs, a .335 on-base percentage, a .990 fielding percentage, and a 3.06 ERA from the starting rotation.

"You see the numbers," Melvin said. "It's a complete team that can beat you a lot of different ways. You have to play very well to beat them."

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Brett Anderson is still wearing a boot on his fractured right foot, but he was seen going through a few exercises on the field Friday before batting practice.

"He's just trying to keep his arm sound while he's going through this," Melvin explained.

Anderson is scheduled for a check-up late next week, when a new scan will reveal how much the bone has improved.

"We're hoping to get good news," Melvin said.

Anderson, 25, was diagnosed with a navicular stress fracture six weeks ago on May 17. The A’s top-paid starting pitcher at $5.75 million still expects to avoid surgery and return to the mound this season.