Tag: Josh Reddick

Stephen Vogt Getty

A’s catcher Stephen Vogt’s story is one of perseverance, survival


OAKLAND -– It’s easy to define Stephen Vogt’s career by the long road he took to get to the majors.

He spent most of six years in the minor leagues, finally getting his first legitimate shot in the bigs with Oakland in 2013 at age 28. His story has been one of perseverance and survival.

Right now, the A’s catcher is gaining attention not for his background but what’s taking place in the present.

Vogt has put together one of the best all-around offensive seasons in the majors so far in 2015. Oakland went out and acquired players such as Billy Butler, Ike Davis and Ben Zobrist over the winter knowing they needed to replenish the heart of their lineup after trading away so many All-Stars.

But the man who has stepped up to grab the reins offensively was on their roster all along.

“You don’t see that much production out of a catcher,” A’s right fielder Josh Reddick said. “You expect catchers to hit .260, .270 and call a really good game, and he’s doing both of those right now. The damage he’s causing at the plate is just what we need in the heart of our lineup.”

Vogt, 30, is actually putting together some of the best across-the-board numbers in all of baseball. He entered Wednesday night leading the American League in RBI with 30. He ranks second in on base-plus-slugging percentage (1.098), is tied for fourth with nine homers and ranks fifth with a .337 batting average.

Vogt also leads all major league catchers in batting average, homers, RBI and OPS.

“I haven’t really though too much about it as to the ‘why’,” Vogt said. “I’ve typically always been a slow starter as far as seasons go. It feels good to be starting off pretty well. I don’t really know why there’s been more power, but I feel good at the plate. And with this lineup we have, I’m going to get pitches to hit.”

So good has he been that the A’s have been forced to re-think their plan to feature a straight platoon at the catcher position. Manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday that Vogt has earned the right to play on a regular basis. Josh Phegley drew the start in Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to Boston against Red Sox lefty Wade Miley, giving Vogt a rest in a day game after a night game.

Phegley has done nothing to lose playing time as much as Vogt has commanded it with his hot bat. It’s quite the scenario considering that the A’s couldn’t have known for sure entering spring training what they would get from Vogt. He was coming off of right foot surgery in October to repair the plantar plate and was limited at catcher during the spring.

To this point, he’s held up well enough physically to start 27 of the A’s 36 games at catcher. And on Tuesday night he showed terrific mobility, springing out from behind the plate to field Pablo Sandoval’s tapper and throw him out at first. An inning later, he made a sliding catch of Blake Swihart’s foul pop near the first base dugout.

“He still gets a little sore when he’s out there several days in a row,” Melvin said. “We have to be careful with him and not over-do it, especially the way he’s performing right now. But I couldn’t be happier with his performance.”

This essentially is Vogt’s first full season in the majors. He played 18 games with Tampa Bay in 2012 and then emerged as an important contributor with the A’s in 2013 after being called up in June. Last season, he didn’t make the club out of spring training but was called up early on before the foot injury relegated him to first base, outfield and DH duties.

This season he’s been indispensable. Vogt filled in well as the No. 3 hitter when Zobrist first went on the disabled list, and now he’s settled in as the No. 5 hitter with the hot-hitting Reddick batting third.

But perhaps Vogt’s toughest job is learning all the new pitchers that joined Oakland’s staff this year, and playing counselor to pitchers -– particularly the relievers –- who have struggled so far in this 13-23 season.

“I think any time you’re trying to get to know a teammate, you have to get to know them on all levels,” Vogt said. “ Some of the guys in spring, you get to know them and they go out and pitch well. But then you need to get to know them when they don’t have their stuff. So there’s that element of getting to know them with the growing pains of a season.”

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Dodgers 11, Marlins 1: Andre Ethier went 5-for-5 with a homer and three RBI in this laugher. Although the Marlins had the highlight of the night. Hold on to you butts, my friends, and watch this drive:


Giants 8, Astros 1: Chris Heston tossed a two-hit complete game while striking out ten. Seeing a complete game from anyone who isn’t a thirtysomething frontline starter these days is sort of like seeing a double rainbow or the Shamrock Shake back at McDonalds or something.

White Sox 4, Brewers 2: Chris Sale had been suspended and thus had five days of rest instead of the usual four between starts. The extra day must’ve done him wonders as he struck out 11 brewers in eight innings of three-hit ball. In other news, “five-day” suspensions cause starting pitchers to, in reality, only be pushed back a day. May as well just do fines for starters instead of suspensions. The extra rest actually helped the guy here.

Royals 7, Rangers 6: The Royals took the lead in the ninth and handed it over to Greg Holland, who blew the save. Alex Gordon hit a homer in the 10th to give them the lead once again and it was once again handed over to Greg Holland and this time he locked it down. Well, got the win anyway, not the save. You can’t really blow the save then get the save. Statistics don’t work like that.

Cubs 6, Mets 1: Noah Syndergaard made his big league debut and it was not one he’s going to count among the best in his career, I don’t think. He started strong, matching zeroes with Jake Arrieta until the sixth inning when the Cubs hung four on him. Oh well, welcome to the big leagues, kid. Kris Bryant went 3-for-4 with a homer and a triple. The homer was a long one, but the triple was maybe more impressive, going the opposite way, farther than it should’ve given the swing he put on it. Guy just has crazy power:


Rays 4, Yankees 2: Chris Archer looked like he was going to get pummeled early, but managed to only give up two runs in a first inning when the first five men he faced reached base. Then the Rays rallied for two in the seventh and two in the eighth. Attendance was 10,417. Not even the Yankees can draw in Tampa Bay anymore.

Reds 4, Braves 3: Yesterday, when I tweeted about how I was heading down to Cincinnati to cover this game, someone on Twitter told me that I should ask Bryan Price why Devin Mesoraco  — who has been limited to pinch-hitting duties due to hip problems, thus leaving the Reds with, in effect, a 24-man roster — hasn’t been placed on the disabled list yet. It’s still a good question, but last night it was good for the Reds that he was around, given his pinch-hit walkoff double. The reason that was the winning run and not merely the tying run was because Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz threw away a ball while trying to get the lead runner on a sac bunt in the seventh rather than take the dang out the Reds were trying to give him. The lead runner scored the tying run. In other news, it’s harder than you think to not yell down at the field at the top of your lungs from the press box when the team you root for does something boneheaded.

Tigers 2, Twins 1: A walkoff bloop single for Ian Kinsler in the tenth, set up by an Anthony Gose double. Before that Alfredo Simon and Kyle Gibson dueled.

Pirates 7, Phillies 2: Four straight wins for the Pirates who you knew dang well weren’t going to scuffle along all year. And you knew Andrew McCutchen was going to right the ship too. Here he singled and hit a two-run homer to back A.J. Burnett, who allowed only one earned run in seven innings.

Blue Jays 10, Orioles 2: Edwin Encarnacion hit two homers. This is where I’d insert that “Nacho Libre” clip, but someone went and took it off of YouTube. Oh, there are a lot of them there still, but not the one that’s just ten seconds long with no pre-roll ad. Really, YouTube ads have killed the short video clip as insert comedy. This makes me way sadder than it should, because that was some comedy right there. Not as much comedy as the Orioles’ defense last night, but some good belly laughs.

Cardinals 8, Indians 3: A two-out three-run homer by Matt Holliday was just one of the many, many two-out RBI hits for the Cardinals. Indeed, all of their runs came on two-out hits. Indians pitchers: 66% is a failing grade no matter where you are. Lance Lynn shut the Tribe out for six innings, striking out 9.

Mariners 11, Padres 4: There was a time, not too long ago, when an M’s-Pads might not score 15 runs between them in a three game series. Here the ball flew out of Safeco, with Mike Zunino hitting two homers, Nelson Cruz hitting his league-leading 15th and the Mariners smacking six in all.

Athletics 9, Red Sox 2: Lots of blowouts out west last night, eh? The A’s snap their six-game losing streak thanks in part to Josh Reddick, who had four hits with a homer and three RBI. Eric Sogard drove in three himself, as Boston’s starting pitching continues to be a horror show.

Angels 5, Rockies 2: The Angels rallied for three in the eighth, thanks in part to Albert Pujols straight-up stealing second base and then coming around to score on a single. He reached base by snapping an 0-for-13 skid. But I’m sure no one was worried about that because, obviously, Pujols is all about his wheels and speed don’t slump. The Rockies have lost ten in a row. Which is some seriously special stuff.

Diamondbacks 14, Nationals 6: Two homers for Mark Trumbo, who drove in four. The Nationals had never given up 14 runs before. Not since they were the Expos, at least. Even if they and their fans like to pretend they were never the Expos.

Yordano Ventura ejected for hitting Brett Lawrie with a pitch

Yordano Ventura

On Friday night, Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie slid hard into second base in an attempt to break up a double play. In doing so, he injured Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar’s knee. It was, it appears, a dirty slide even if Lawrie didn’t intend to cause an injury.

Lawrie attempted to apologize to Escobar after the game, but there were some crossed wires there.

Lawrie received a lusty booing from the home crowd in Kansas City prior to his first at-bat in the top of the third inning in Saturday night’s game. He and catcher Salvador Perez had a brief chat at home plate before the at-bat began. Lawrie grounded out to third base for the first out.

In the fourth, the Athletics broke out for five runs, capped by a Josh Reddick three-run home run off of Ventura. Reddick bats directly in front of Lawrie. Ventura started off with an 85 MPH curve out of the zone, then hit Lawrie with a 99 MPH fastball. Ventura was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Jim Joyce. Lawrie walked directly to first base.

Yohan Pino came in to relieve Ventura.