OAKLAND -- Derek Norris makes his return to the lineup tonight after being reinstated yesterday from the 15-day disabled list. Norris last played Aug. 20 and hit the DL the next day with his fractured left big toe. He'll catch A.J. Griffin against the Astros and their left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
Manager Bob Melvin continued to say he has "three good options" at catcher, and that you could see Kurt Suzuki behind the plate Saturday against another left-hander in Brett Oberholtzer. Melvin has said matchups will dictate who catches on a given day -- and not the familiarity of any one A's starter with a particular catcher.
"We feel comfortable with all three of those guys with our pitchers," Melvin said. "There isn't any real personal catcher thing going on at this point."
That said, here are Griffin's splits this season with the A's catchers, courtesy of baseball-reference.com:
Jaso: 12 games, 67.1 IP, 4.14 ERA, 18 HR, 2.41 HR/9, 3.41 K/BB
Norris: 10 games, 64 IP, 4.08 ERA, 7 HR, 0.98 HR/9, 4.36 K/BB
Vogt: 7 games, 44.2 IP, 3.02 ERA, 8 HR, 1.61 HR/9, 1.67 K/BB
Griffin's 33 homers allowed leads the majors. Norris has been behind the plate for seven of them. Suzuki has not caught Griffin this season and caught only two of his starts with the A's last season -- Griffin was called up shortly before Suzuki was traded.
Here's the full A's lineup tonight against Keuchel:
And the Astros lineup against Griffin:
* Melvin said the A's are targeting the first day of their series in Minnesota next Tuesday for right fielder Josh Reddick (wrist) to take batting practice on the field. Reddick said he took swings off a tee today and "didn't feel anything," but still doesn't have a targeted return date.
Next Tuesday is actually the day Reddick is eligible to come off the DL, and he said he feels that's not out of the question, despite Melvin's timetable. "(The wrist is) not as serious or bad as it was the first time," Reddick said.
Reddick, though, was candid about the fact he doesn't want to come back until he's 100 percent and able to contribute in all aspects -- as a hitter and in the field. In other words, he doesn't want to come back as a role player, pinch-runner, bench piece and so on.
"I'm hoping this is a 100-percent thing," Reddick said.
The A's haven't gotten the offensive production from Reddick that they received last year, when he led the team with 32 home runs, but he has played good defense all year and his presence in right field is still a deterrent to baserunners.
* Since winning their first 10 games this season against the Astros, the A's have gone 2-4 in their last six, including last night's 3-2 loss. So what has Houston done differently?
"I think it's had as much to do with us," Melvin said. "We haven't scored runs early in the game like we were doing to them early in the season. We were getting ahead. And now they're getting ahead and we're having to come back.
"I think even in the games over at their place we had to come back and win a couple games dramatically. They beat us two out of three here, where we were behind and having to come back. We're better off to try to score some runs early and get a lead."
They'll be trying to do so against Keuchel, who has two relief appearances and two starts against the A's this season. Oakland tagged him for six runs on 10 hits in six innings in a 6-2 win on May 26. Keuchel allowed just one run on five hits in six innings on July 22, a game the A's won 4-3.
It's no surprise to see Freiman fifth -- he's 3-for-6 against Keuchel with a home run.
-- Matt Kawahara