Tepid interest from other clubs at the trade deadline kept Derek Norris in San Diego during the second half of 2016, as his .186/.255/.328 line was easily the worst he's produced since becoming a big league player in 2012 with the A's. Defensively, he's become a steady option behind the dish, but his struggles last season included a career-high 30.3 percent strikeout rate and the second consecutive season with a walk rate (7.9 percent BB%) below his career norm (9.2 percent). Two injuries may have contributed to his struggles -- the first was a hand contusion suffered after he was hit by a pitch in May, and the second was a left elbow injury sustained after he was struck by a bat while catching in early July -- and the only semblance of typical production came in between those ailments when he hit .273/.318/.506 with five of his 14 home runs in June. The Padres dealt Norris to Washington in the offseason, although he'll have to settle for a backup catching gig as long as Matt Wieters is healthy.
Norris is out of the lineup Sunday against the Astros, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports. It's just a routine day off in the series finale for Norris, who will cede catching duties to Jesus Sucre. Norris went 1-for-8 at the dish in the first two games of the series, dropping his season batting average to .173.
Norris is out of the lineup Thursday against the Tigers, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. After starting three straight games, Norris will take a seat in favor of Jesus Sucre for the afternoon contest. Barring a pinch-hit appearance, Norris will finish the series 2-for-8 with one RBI and two strikeouts.
Norris went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in Tuesday's 5-1 win over the Tigers. The veteran backstop has gone 3-for-8 with a double and Tuesday's RBI over his last two games, pushing his average back to .200. Norris drove in his first run since April 7 when he plated Brad Miller in the sixth, and he continues to log the majority of starts behind the plate. The 28-year-old hasn't consistently hit for average since 2015, but he's at least lowered his strikeout rate from last season's career-high 30.3 percent to 25.6 percent, while also boosting his contact rate from 67 percent to 73 percent.
Norris is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Red Sox, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. It looks to be little more than a routine day off for Norris, who went 0-for-7 while starting the first two games of the series. Jesus Sucre will get the nod at catcher, serving as the battery mate for Alex Cobb.
Norris is not in the lineup Thursday against the Yankees, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Norris is batting just .200 on the young season, and after starting the past two games behind the plate, he'll get the night off Thursday. Jesus Sucre will set up behind the dish in his stead.