OAKLAND -- The A's 7-10 record in August is about more than just the trade of Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes. It's a multiple choice of answers, and all collectively have become part of the team's woes.

For example, Stephen Vogt hasn't caught a game this month and probably won't catch again this season unless there is an emergency. He has what is being called a bad bone bruise on his right foot.

Vogt, who is hitting .322 overall but just .229 this month, says that he's at his best when catching because that's when he's most involved in the game.

"Not being able to catch does mentally take away from my game," Vogt said. "Mentally, I work hard at the scouting reports and trying to get with our pitchers. So it's kind of a mental void for me. I wish I could be behind the plate. I love catching."

As it happened, Vogt's July injury was the first brick to go in the A's pyramid of versatility. On July 28, outfielder Craig Gentry landed on the disabled list with a broken right hand. A week later, infielder Nick Punto found himself out with a hamstring strain. Starting shortstop Jed Lowrie tried for over a week to play with an injured right finger, but that turned out to be a fracture, and he's on the D.L., too.

None have returned, although Gentry started an injury rehabilitation assignment stint with Triple-A Sacramento on Monday and could be back this week.

The A's did lose much of their punch in the middle of the lineup by dealing Cespedes at the July 31 trade deadline. It hasn't helped that center fielder Coco Crisp has spent the middle of the season battling neck problems, which might be the reason for his .114 batting average in his last 19 games.


Advertisement

Add them up, and the lineup manager Bob Melvin has been trotting out there in August isn't quite the same as the one that was scoring at least four runs in 62.6 percent of its games before the Cespedes trade. And although the A's still have a comfortable 14-run edge over the Colorado Rockies as the majors' highest-scoring team, Oakland has been held to three runs or fewer in 13 of 17 games since Cespedes was traded.

"Some of the versatility has been worn away," Melvin said of his lineup. "But when you get to September (when rosters expand), you'll get a lot more versatility back."

The A's, who have lost a season-high five consecutive games, can only hope so.

As for Vogt, he's not worried, the A's current troubles notwithstanding.

"It's a frustrating feeling not being able to catch," he said. "At the same time, our team is good the way it is. They don't need me to catch."

---