OAKLAND, Calif.- The Oakland Athletics called up Derek Norris from Triple-A Sacramento to make his major league debut Thursday, and plan to have him share catching duties with Kurt Suzuki.
Suzuki is batting .215 with no home runs this season, the Baldwin High School graduate's sixth in the major leagues. He has thrown out 17 runners attempting to steal, tied for the most in the American League.
"I feel like I'm one of the better catchers in the game," Suzuki was quoted as saying on the Oakland Tribune's website. "Obviously I'm not hitting the way I want to. But I'm here, and I want to win here."
Kurt Suzuki is batting .215 for the Oakland Athletics this season.
Since batting a career-best .279 in 2008, Suzuki's average has declined each season.
"I think everyone is making this out to be a bigger deal than it is," Suzuki was quoted as saying by the San Francisco Chronicle. "I am still here - and I am looking to get back on track and be the player I can be. I'm not thinking of this as a death sentence. There is nothing I want to do more than perform well for the Oakland A's."
Norris went 0-for-3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 4-1 win on Thursday, but threw out Dee Gordon trying to steal second base in the ninth inning.
The Tribune quoted Oakland manager Bob Melvin as saying a trade involving Suzuki is "not what we're looking to do," adding: "This is more about both of them co-existing - the guy who's your catcher of the present and the guy that potentially is your catcher of the future."
The A's are the only organization for which Suzuki has played as a professional.
On the team's site, Melvin said: "I probably ran Kurt down a little more than I should. I think that probably plays into some of the offensive woes he's having right now. He would probably never admit to that, but this is our best option. Make no mistake, with (Norris) here, he's going to play some. They're both going to play. It's going to give me an opportunity to rest Kurt more, and we feel like we have two very good options and a great tandem at this point."
Suzuki has made more starts at catcher than anyone in the major leagues since 2008.
Melvin also said on the team's site that Suzuki will start today against the San Francisco Giants, and that "Kurt's about winning. He's about the Oakland A's winning. You don't get many guys like that that are all about the team. He doesn't worry about stats. What he worries about is the win-loss record, first and foremost, and handling the pitching staff. If this makes us better and gives us the opportunity to rest him a little bit more, then he's all for it."