In many ways Derek Norris embodies what makes the Oakland A’s so great.
The 25-year-old catcher plays a solid game and brings a specific skill to the table: he is certified, card-carrying member of the “left-handed pitching destroyers.” He batted .320 with a .990 OPS against LHP last season, a far cry from the .149 BA and .445 OPS he put up against RHP.
When deployed correctly, Norris is a valuable player. The team most likely to know how to maximize a guy like Norris is the A’s; for their part they are taking a proactive approach to make sure Norris is healthy for the regular season so that they can do just that.
Susan Slusser reports that Norris will be held out a few days with back spasms:
Derek Norris was initially in the lineup, but was scratched with back tightness. He told me this morning that the discomfort is limited to the middle of his back, it’s not the lower back issue that bothered him last year…Sitting out now is just a precaution, Norris said, based on his experience last year…Norris said he’d wanted to catch new A’s starter Scott Kazmir in Kazmir’s Cactus League debut, but his back has bothered him a little the past few days and he felt it during batting practice, so he will sit out for a day or two.”
It sounds like the injury is minor and should not be an issue, but the A’s will likely do as much as they can to make sure this does not become a chronic problem for their young catcher.