OAKLAND — Derek Norris is about to prove that catchers have a higher tolerance of pain than the run-of-the-mill baseball player.

Norris is due to come off the 15-day disabled list Thursday. His left big toe is still fractured, but, he said, ``that's not a big deal.''

``I won't be a liability,'' Norris said Wednesday morning. He's back in the A's clubhouse after having spent three games on in injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sacramento before the River Cats season ended. ``The toe is broken, so there will be soreness, but the pain will be manageable.''

Norris said it was at least as important that he was able to rest his aching back and neck, areas that have taken a pounding this year.

Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris is pictured after making a catch during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle
Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris is pictured after making a catch during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle Sunday Sept 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

``The back is good to go,'' he said.

Manager Bob Melvin said he wouldn't put any catcher behind the plate who wasn't ready to play pain-free, so Norris may have to convince the skipper that he's not negatively impacted by the toe injury.

The A's will now have three healthy catchers in Norris, newcomer Kurt Suzuki and Stephen Vogt. Vogt, a left-handed hitter, will get most of the action against right-handed starting pitchers. Right-handers Suzuki and Norris will play as the manager's instincts dictate against left-handed starting pitching.

A fourth catcher, John Jaso, is six weeks on the disabled list with concussion issues and shows no sign of getting healthy enough to play. The A's are having him do some soft-toss hitting, but he hasn't been cleared for a full batting practice session.


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  • The A's are hoping that when right fielder Josh Reddick comes off the DL — he's eligible for a return to start the club's next road trip Tuesday in Minnesota — he will be ``close to 100 percent if not 100 percent,'' Melvin said.

    Reddick (right wrist) tried to play through pain in the wrist earlier in the season with less than persuasive results that he'd done the right thing. So he said he didn't want to be a drag on the A's lineup.

    But Melvin said he expected Reddick, when activated, would be good to go.