TORONTO -- The A's were down a catcher in Toronto on Sunday, as Derek Norris continued to nurse a sore back that spasmed up on him during Saturday's game.
That left third baseman Josh Donaldson, a natural catcher, as the team's backup to Stephen Vogt.
"It's definitely better than yesterday," Norris said. "The right side of my back is pretty much all tight. We're just trying to slowly relax those muscles, so they can get back to normal."
Norris incurred the injury during his fourth at-bat of Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays, when he reached out for a changeup for his third hit of the game. Then, on Jed Lowrie's ensuing grounder, "I was trying to break up the double play," Norris explained, "and I slid, and knew something wasn't quite right.
"My alignment's still off. I feel like I'm surfing or something," he said. "I'm still trying to look at myself in the mirror and straighten myself out, and that's not quite working yet. We're going to have to cool this right side off a little bit. It's still pretty fired up."
Still, walking without pain on Sunday morning was an encouraging sign for Norris, who is experiencing back issues for the first time since high school. Even then, it was a minor ordeal.
Norris considers this as such, too, and the A's are hoping that's the case, considering they don't have a true healthy catcher on their 40-man roster outside of Vogt at the moment.
John Jaso, on the disabled list with a concussion, has yet to even resume baseball activities, and Triple-A catcher Luke Montz has also been on the DL for more than a month.
Anderson progressing, but still no return timetable
TORONTO -- A's lefty Brett Anderson continues to progress without any issues, though the A's still aren't putting a timetable on his return. Or even on a rehab assignment.
Anderson threw 31 pitches in a simulated game on Saturday, mixing in some fielding drills to test his right foot. He'll repeat that on Tuesday.
"He took it to another level, and we'll see him Tuesday," manager Bob Melvin said. "Everything's going well to this point."
So far, the A's have been keeping Anderson in the 30-pitch range during multiple sessions, remaining extra cautious with their Opening Day starter, who hasn't pitched in a game since April because of a stress fracture in his foot.
"We're trying to take him through a process where we can keep him healthy and not push him too much," Melvin said. "Not only are you trying to make sure the foot's no longer an issue, you're also trying to incrementally make sure the arm's not getting pushed as well."
If the A's need pitching help sooner rather than later, they may be inclined to bring back Anderson as a reliever. The lefty has stated that he would welcome any role, so long as he's back on a big league mound.
"I think anything is an option at this point. We'll see what our needs are, and we'll see how far we can speed him along," said Melvin.
Crisp lifted for pinch-hitter, may rest in finale
TORONTO -- A's outfielder Coco Crisp was lifted for pinch-hitter Chris Young in the top of the eighth inning in the A's 6-4 loss in Toronto on Sunday because of a sore left wrist.
It's an injury that didn't exactly occur during the game, but rather one that's been bothering the veteran for a while, manager Bob Melvin said.
"It's been on and off for a bit," said Melvin, who noted it mostly affects Crisp when he's batting right-handed.
Melvin is likely to rest Crisp for Monday's series finale along with catcher Derek Norris, who is dealing with back spasms.
"There are a number of issues we're battling at this point," he said. "We'll just fight through it tomorrow."