PHOENIX (AP) — John Jaso took the field with the rest of his Oakland Athletics teammates for their first full-squad workout of spring training on Thursday.
He'd already taken a ball off his mask in spring training, an important hurdle for him to clear in his return to baseball.
Jaso is coming back from a concussion that ultimately knocked him out for almost half of last season. A foul tip that struck him in his mask in a game on July 24 led to headaches, dizziness and nausea for some time, and he never got cleared to play.
"I've had a few concussions in the past but nothing this extreme. I almost blacked out on the field out there," Jaso recalled. "It was pretty intense. The other concussions I had were just feeling dizzy and stuff like that."
Jaso since been given the go-ahead by renowned concussion specialist Dr. Micky Collins, and is back to work in full.
The concussion affected Jaso's depth perception and his ability to pick up objects flashing into his line of sight, so Jaso got vision tests from Dr. Collins when he met with him in Pittsburgh before the start of spring training.
Until then, Jaso admitted feeling concerned.
"I'd say the most scary part about it was if I was to do the tests again and they showed the same results, would it be the end of my career if I took another few foul balls, couple of more wacks to the dome?" Jaso said.
Jaso, 30, was the A's opening day catcher last season. He homered in the same game in which he was injured, and batted .271 with 21 runs batted in before the concussion.
He wants to continue to catch, even though the A's could use him at first base or as a designated hitter at times. Manager Bob Melvin likes versatility in his players and said the team's two other catchers who have seen the most action the past two seasons, Stephen Vogt and Derek Norris, could be asked to play other positions as well.