Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris was forced to leave Thursday's game against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning after taking a foul tip off the jaw. Fortunately for Norris and the Athletics, the X-rays on his jaw came back negative.
The catcher was careful not to speak too much after the game, but did tell reporters that he hoped to be ready for Friday's home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. John Jaso replaced Norris at catcher to finish out Thursday's game, and would likely start behind the plate if Norris is unable to catch.
Oakland acquired the 24-year old catcher last season from the Washington Nationals as part of the trade that sent Gio Gonzalez to D.C. Norris was a well-regarded prospect, as John Sickels ranked him as the sixth best player in the Athletics farm system heading into the 2012 season.
Norris has started the season swinging the bat extremely well, as he is currently hitting .417/.516/.583 through 31 plate appearances. The catcher is being aided by an unsustainable .500 BABIP, but has shown increased power and patience this season, which suggests he has improved offensively after hitting .201/.276/.349 in 2012.
Jaso and Norris are currently splitting time at catcher. The 29 year-old is considered below-average defensively, but is hitting .282/.364/.385 for Oakland this season.