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What a catcher looks for on the bases

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What a catcher looks for on the bases

NEW YORK – Caleb Joseph isn’t playing on Saturday. Ryan Lavarnway gets the start instead.

That will give Joseph the chance to rest and watch. So far this season, nine runners have stolen off Joseph, and he’s thrown four out. On Friday night, Brett Gardner was successful.

He says he made two bad throws this season, both last month in Toronto.

“Those are bad throws. All the other ones I’ll take. The rest of them were a product of a fast runner. Maybe he got a good jump, but our pitchers have been doing a great job all season of giving us a chance. I’ll take every one of my throws, minus the two,” Joseph said

“Out of all of them, I just want two throws back.”

There were questions about Joseph’s defense when debuted just over a year ago. He answered many of them.

“Even last year when I threw out 40 percent, you’re looking at a 60 percent success rate. It’s hard. These guys are getting paid millions of dollars. They don’t get on first base and just run. These guys are fast,” Joseph said.

“There are a lot of things that go into it, like who’s hitting behind him, the count, look for a sequence, maybe look for a breaking pitch because those pitches are getting to the plate a little slower. They’re not going to go unless they feel like they really can steal the base.”

Orioles pitchers are continually drilled on the need to deliver the ball rapidly to the plate. Most do.

“Our guys are normally quick. It’s not necessarily about times. It’s about getting jumps,” Joseph said.

Joseph says throwing runners out can’t necessarily be replicated in spring training.

“There’s an ebb and flow of getting it because I only had two chances, three chances during the spring to throw a guy out. You take three months off, and you can practice it all you want in spring training. You can practice throwing to bases, but there’s a totally different feel when you’re in the game and you’ve got adrenaline and you’ve got live pitching, you’ve got a live batter,” Joseph said.

“You can try your best to simulate it, but nothing comes close to a real game. It would be like only giving Chris Davis three at-bats to get ready for the season.”

Joseph says he’s helped by having J.J. Hardy back. That should boost his caught stealing percentage.

“My responsibility is to throw the ball in hopefully under 1.9 seconds in the tagging zone. After that, there’s a lot of pieces and parts to this puzzle. People underestimated what a great tagger J.J. is, and Buck [Showalter] talks about it all the time. J.J. singlehandedly got, I would say eight to 10 stolen bases for me because of his unbelievable tagging,” Joseph said.

“If I’m throwing balls into center field, we’ve got issues, but as long as I’m doing my part, and getting it down there as fast as I can in the tagging zone, I feel like with the way that the team is designed and as great a job as our pitchers do, we will get, more times than not, we’ll have a really good chance of getting them out.”

As a second year player, Joseph is able to see more of the game behind the plate, and he’s able to multitask more often.

“You can pay attention to a lot of the way they lead off [the base]. I’m so much more comfortable with how [bench coach] John Russell is going to use pickoffs and pitchouts and knowing that, it’s kind of an unspoken communication there, knowing that this is a good time to run, and your senses are heightened versus maybe [in your] first year, there’s so much going on back there,” Joseph said.

A year ago, Joseph was a career minor leaguer hoping to get some time in the big leagues. Now, he’s the regular pending the return of Matt Wieters. The game is so much more cerebral.

“Late in the game, you’re trying to manage a certain spot there. Where is this out at the plate more important than the stolen base? How are we going to pitch to this guy because every catcher wants to throw a fastball? It’s the hardest pitch. It’s the easiest to handle, but sometimes you’ve got to know how to navigate around the guy at first base and the hitter because you don’t want to throw him five straight fastballs because then a guy puts it into play, and the run scored,” Joseph said.

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hecticfew weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm

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Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles signed right-hander Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract on Thursday after searching for starting pitching all offseason.

The 31-year-old Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in eight major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego, Miami and Texas, including 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last year. The deal with the Orioles has an option for 2020.

He'll join right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in the rotation.

"I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is, show up every day and whoever I can help out, help out and my job is to come here and pitch and win," Cashner said.

Cashner's deal could be worth $41 million over three seasons if he pitches 200 innings annually. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable in equal installments each Jan. 15 from 2020 through 2021.

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Cashner has salaries of $5 million this season and $8 million in 2019, and there is a $10 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he pitches 340 innings combined in the next two seasons. If he reaches 360 innings, it would become a player option.

He can make $5 million in performance bonuses each year.

There are $1,525,000 per season in bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 10 and 15, $625,000 for 20 and $400,000 for 30.

Cashner also can make $3,475,000 each year based on innings: $250,000 each for 110 and 120, $275,000 for 130, $350,000 for 140, $750,000 for 150 and $400,000 apiece for 170, 180, 190 and 200.

Cashner was at the Orioles' spring training facility, and was due to head to his Texas home for a few days before returning on Sunday when Baltimore's full squad is required to report. He'll likely work out with the team for the first time Monday.

He has little experience against the Orioles, but said he was excited to join the team.

"It's a lineup you can't really make a lot of mistakes against," Cashner said. "It's a lot of power in there, and I got to pitch (for) San Diego one year in Baltimore. Really cool stadium, really neat, a lot of history. It's one of my favorite places to pitch, so I'm looking forward to making that my home (stadium) every night."

RELATED: ORIOLES TO SHUFFLE UP INFIELD AHEAD OF MACHADO'S FINAL SEASON

Manager Buck Showalter said Cashner would be an ideal addition to the club.

"He's a veteran starter. That's a good deal for both us and him," Showalter said. "He's a guy who's pitched well in the American League. That's something that I think played in his favor."

Cashner said that he began negotiations with Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson last fall and in a challenging offseason for free agents, he said patience was vital.

"I don't think it's been difficult. It's been interesting. It's been different," Cashner said.

To make room for Cashner on the 40-man roster, Baltimore placed left-hander Zach Britton (Achilles) on the 60-day disabled list.