OAKLAND (AP) — Catcher Stephen Vogt has taken too many foul tips to count, but this one to the groin was his worst ever.
“I’ve taken so many shots to the cup. This one was direct, 93 (mph) if not harder with the redirection from the bat,” Vogt said. “I’ve never been hit that directly with that much velocity. The pain is indescribable. This has been miserable the last few days.”
Vogt rejoined the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday following two days at home resting from a frightening foul tip to the groin that forced him to leave Sunday’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners.
He underwent two ultrasounds on the groin area that showed no surgery was necessary, though he was dealing with swelling and it’s unclear when he will play again. Manager Bob Melvin is optimistic he will return — “Oh, no doubt,” he said — and that it likely will be during the team’s upcoming 10-game road trip through Texas, Chicago and Houston.
“I’ll probably ease him in once he starts playing again, whether it’s a DH role, a little bit at first, before we get him behind the plate, which is a little easier to deal with,” Melvin said. “We’re feeling better about where he is today as opposed to the last couple days.”
Vogt was examined in the training room Wednesday ahead of the series finale against the Houston Astros. He will travel on the upcoming road trip, hoping to resume some baseball activities and hitting. Even on pain killers, he is still really hurting.
“Fortunately the tests yesterday came back with no fracture or rupture, just a really bad contusion,” Vogt said. “I’m just lucky and fortunate it wasn’t a surgery-requiring or a removable injury, because those have happened.”
He said he hasn’t done much aside from walking to and from the bathroom, getting help from his family for food and other needs to stay off his feet as much as possible. He has felt nausea at times but never got sick. There is a mark on his protective cup that shows exactly where the ball hit when it came off the bat of Seattle’s Ketel Marte.
“It’s just really good to see him back in here,” backup catcher Josh Phegley said. “None of us expect him to be back in there any time soon. That was a scary situation. He’s being a trooper about it. You can tell he wants to be in here, he wants to be back but he’s got to play it safe for his health. It’s just nice to see him here, he’s a staple in this clubhouse.”
Phegley said his teammates want Vogt to take his time to fully heal.
“Right now the thought of getting back there makes me nauseous,” Vogt said, describing the injury as a “freak, fluke thing.”
For Phegley, he has seen plenty of catchers — himself included — take hard foul tips to the groin area.
“But that was by far the worst one I’ve ever seen. You could tell the amount of pain he was in,” Phegley said. “We all kind of feared the worst but it seems like everything has worked out and he’s going to make a full recovery.”
Vogt is batting .271 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 125 games this season.
The 30-year-old Vogt batted .279 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs in a career-best 84 games last year, when he didn’t catch again after July 7 because of a troublesome right foot that needed surgery after the season.
“It’s never fun when you have an incident and have to be away from the team,” Vogt said. “It wasn’t easy to be gone the last couple days. Each day’s been a little bit better.”