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Jaso's experience is invaluable to A's young staff

ANAHEIM -- Nothing is more essential to a team's success than the bond between pitchers and catchers. It has been a relatively seamless transition for backstop John Jaso in his first season with the A's following a winter deal with the Mariners.

"When I came in, it was really easy to get to know the guys here," Jaso said on Friday night as the American League West leaders engaged the Angels. "There are some guys you need to calm down, some guys you want to get going [emotionally].

"The personality thing is something I picked up on in Triple-A, actually. There are times when you'll go out there, grab the resin bag and toss it in the air, and say, 'I just jammed my thumb on that pitch. I need some time.' Really, what you're doing is giving your pitcher some time to calm down. It's part of the job, knowing your guys and doing what you can to bring out the best in them."

According to A's manager Bob Melvin, Jaso's experience with the Rays and Mariners has eased his transition.

"I think he's done a nice job," Melvin said. "He's been with several teams before and caught high-profile guys."

While veterans Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour lead the rotation and bullpen, the A's have one of the youngest pitching staffs in the Majors. They stormed to the 2012 AL West title behind a rotation that featured four rookies. Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker, Dan Straily and A.J. Griffin are all back, along with Colon.

"They're still in the development process, and it's exciting to be part of it," said Jaso, who has shared catching duties with Derek Norris while also starting 13 games as the designated hitter.

A's starters finished the first 95 games on a roll, allowing three or fewer runs in 11 consecutive games with a 2.28 overall ERA. Over the past 53 games, the rotation is 27-8 with a 2.99 ERA, allowing a .227 opponents' batting average.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for
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