6/29/2013 9:15 P.M. ET
A's bullpen stingy on mound, charitable in community
By Jeff Kirshman / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The newest member of the A's Community Fund is the bullpen staff, which teamed with the franchise's fundraising entity to create the "A's Relief" program.
Every month throughout the season, the A's Community Fund and bullpen will honor the "A's Reliever of the Month," with the winners honored in a pregame ceremony. Along with several prizes, a donation will be made to the charity of the recipient's choice.
"As a bullpen, we realize how much our unit can bring relief to the team," A's reliever Jerry Blevins said. "We want to bring that same relief to those individuals and groups in the community who share our common goal of helping those around us."
Lorrain Taylor became the first recipient Saturday as June's Reliever of the Month award winner. Taylor founded "1,000 Mothers to Prevent Violence," which eases the detrimental and traumatic impact on homicide and violent crime victim survivors in the Bay Area.
In future months, A's fans will have the opportunity to nominate the Reliever of the Month. In the coming weeks, visit oaklandathletics.com/community for more information about A's Relief.
Vogt never so happy to receive silent treatment
OAKLAND -- Sometimes, good team chemistry is acting like you don't care at all.
Stephen Vogt was greeted by the silent treatment upon his return to the dugout after recording his first Major League hit -- a home run to right field during Friday's 6-1 win over the Cardinals.
"You always wonder if they're going to do it," Vogt said of the baseball-wide tradition. "You kind of see everybody sitting and it's like, 'OK, I'm going to get the silent treatment.' It's a really good feeling to get the silent treatment.
"This group of guys has adopted me right away and made me feel like I'm a part of the family, so it's pretty neat."
Vogt's teammates kept up the act for about 10 seconds before Jed Lowrie finally broke the silence and led the charge while Vogt was grabbing a cup of water.
"We just like to have fun," Lowrie said. "Obviously, after he got his water and we were all happy for him. The silent treatment makes it better."
Vogt's home run snapped an 0-for-32 hitless streak dating back to last season to start his career. He had come close on multiple occasions, including a shot to the warning track in center field in his previous at-bat, but finally got over the hump in try No. 33.
Vogt's success behind the plate has been more immediate. Since his promotion from Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday, Vogt has caught A.J. Griffin's first shutout against the Reds on Wednesday and Bartolo Colon's eight innings of one-run ball Friday.
"As a catcher, it's important that you do show those qualities early on," manager Bob Melvin said. "The pitcher has to know that you do have those leadership qualities and you're not just back there throwing down numbers. You're throwing down numbers because you're prepared and you understand what that particular pitcher needs to do. The sooner you can give off that type of aura about yourself, the more confidence the pitchers will have in you."
Norris notches two hits in Saturday's start
OAKLAND -- Stephen Vogt was rewarded for notching his first career hit with his first game off since his promotion on Tuesday.
Derek Norris started Saturday for the A's at catcher with hopes of snapping a slump that saw him go 4-for-39 over his last 13 games.
Norris showed signs of doing just that, going 2-for-3 against Adam Wainwright in a 7-1 loss.
Norris is batting .164 since May 1 after hitting .283 in April and has struggled to earn consistent playing time in manager Bob Melvin's starting lineup.
"It's been a while, and we've had quite a few righties, and you want to give him some at-bats to stay current, because we do have three lefties coming up on the schedule before the [All-Star] break," Melvin said. "But it's not always about the offensive end. It's about the defensive end, too. He's had some nice games with [Saturday starter Jarrod] Parker. We always feel comfortable when he's back there."
Experiencing success on the defensive end with offensive struggles is a concept shortstop Adam Rosales is well-versed in. Rosales' playing time, like Norris', has dipped due to his lack of offensive production.
The Catch-22 of the situation is that it's difficult to snap out of a funk when given so few opportunities to do so.
"The way to get over the hump is to get back out there and get on the horse and keep on making those small adjustment," Rosales said. "You just need to be patient and do everything you can to work in the cage and get the workouts in and make sure my mindset's right every day."
Melvin may have preferred for John Jaso to get the nod at catcher, but the A's have not deemed him ready to play a full game as he continues to heal from a left palm abrasion. Jaso has played just once off the bench since he was scratched from the starting lineup on June 21.
"He's still available," Melvin said. "We just don't feel like he's available for four or five AB's in a whole game. But it is getting better. Yesterday was a big improvement day for him. He's available off the bench, just not to start yet."
Jeff Kirshman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.