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Showalter still has faith in Caleb Joseph

Showalter still has faith in Caleb Joseph

BALTIMORE—It hasn’t been a terrific first half of the season for Caleb Joseph. He missed a month after testicular surgery, and doesn’t have an RBI in 75 at-bats. 

Last year, he had 49 RBIs in 320 at-bats. The Orioles have no complaints on his defense

“I think everybody would like to have both ends,” said manager Buck Showalter. “That’s why guys like Matt [Wieters] and [Kansas City Royals catcher] Salvador Perez go to the All-Star Game. But everybody starts out looking at catch, throw, receive, put down good fingers, and Caleb does a great job with that. And we know he’s capable of swinging the bat better.

Showalter believes Joseph will hit better post All-Star break.

“He’s going to hit better. He’s got a track record of doing that. He had a lot of at-bats on rehab, too,” Showalter said.

“I think Caleb’s one of the top-ranked framers, all that stuff they do. Calls a great game. We’re lucky to have him. I think it bodes well for us the last 75 games because we know he’s going to hit better, too, as he goes. He’s drove in some big runs for us since he’s been here. I know he’s frustrated with it right now because the first question every day to him is about some statistic. He doesn’t have to look at it. He knows.”

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Orioles' Caleb Joseph catches 8 innings in first game since scary injury

Orioles' Caleb Joseph catches 8 innings in first game since scary injury

FREDERICK, Md.—Caleb Joseph had just spent eight innings behind the plate for the first time in four weeks. He watched the Frederick Keys come from behind an inning after he took himself out of the game, and even joined in the on-field celebration. 

As he walked off Nymeo Field, Joseph walked up a flight of stairs to a concourse that leads to the Keys locker room. Joseph was surrounded by well wishers, and they wanted autographs. 

In this unique setting, Joseph promised his fans he’d be back out momentarily, and he was, spending several minutes fulfilling each request. 

Soon, Joseph will resume his duties as Matt Wieters’ understudy for the Orioles, but on Monday night in his return to catching after his scary May 30 testicular injury that required surgery, everything seemed normal. 

Joseph caught eight innings and was 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly for the Keys. 

“It was good. It felt great. All the preparation I did in Bowie paid off. Felt strong even into those later innings. Pitchers did a great job, didn’t throw too many balls in the dirt. It was fun to be out there, especially fun to get that ‘W’ in walkoff fashion,” Joseph said. 

The Carolina Mudcats’ leadoff hitter, Stephen Gaylor fouled a ball off his left eye, a little reminder of the incident that necessitated surgery. 

“I was thinking, ‘oh man, is this a bad omen here?’ The poor guy, a full swing, and it hit him in his eye, and I think ‘good night, do I really want to be back here?’ This is a weird game. People think this is a non-contact sport. It’s contact in different ways. It’s high speed. There’s a lot of danger involved. We know that going into it. I’m glad the guy was O.K,” Joseph said. 

Manager Buck Showalter originally said that Joseph would catch one game, and if everything went well, he’d come back to the Orioles and could catch in San Diego on Wednesday afternoon. 

After Sunday’s game, Showalter amended the plan and said that Joseph would catch in Frederick again on Tuesday night, this time to Orioles pitcher Vance Worley, who’s rehabbing a right groin injury. 

“I’m going to have to make a few phone calls here. I felt really good. I expected to feel good, but I felt better than anticipated, so it’s a really good sign. I’m going to make a few phone calls, then we’ll see what happens,” Joseph said. 

In the seventh, Joseph threw one runner out stealing. Another had such an enormous lead that no throw could have gotten him. 

There were only a few reminders of the accident for Joseph.

“A few pitches to some left-handers who were trying to elevate the ball to the same exact location. It did cross my mind a few times, but we’re still living to tell about it, so it’s a good first step. I think, over time, that will just go away and we’ll go back to normal,” he said. 

Joseph has hit .308 in his four games with the Keys. In his first three, he was the designated hitter. He also hit .286 in six games as a DH for Bowie. 

His new protective cup worked out well, he said.

“No issues at all. For the most part, I had peace of mind and the people at NutShellz, they’ve done a great job and had a superior product. I feel really good about it. Maybe I can order you guys one, you guys can try it out,” Joseph said.  

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Caleb Joseph could rejoin Orioles next week in San Diego

Caleb Joseph could rejoin Orioles next week in San Diego

BALTIMORE—Caleb Joseph is scheduled to catch on Monday night in Frederick. It will be four weeks since he underwent testicular surgery, and if it goes well, Joseph could join the Orioles in San Diego on Tuesday and be available to play Wednesday afternoon. 

“He’s been catching bullpens for a while now. His legs are fine,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

Joseph has been Bowie’s designated hitter this week. In nine games at DH for the Baysox and Keys, Joseph is 9-for-20 (.450) with a home run. 

“He’s throwing. He’s been hitting more than most people have been hitting on rehab,” Showalter said. “If he feels good after Monday, we’ll consider it.” 

Left-handed pitcher Brian Duensing had surgery on Friday to remove two pieces of cartilage in his left elbow. He’ll rehab in Sarasota, Fla.

Vance Worley (groin) will throw in relief of Jason Garcia in Bowie on Saturday. If that goes well, he could be activated on Tuesday in San Diego. 

Darren O’Day (hamstring) threw on a half-mound on Thursday, and will throw on a full mound Saturday.

NOTES: Pitching coach Dave Wallace is away this weekend. Bullpen coach Dom Chiti will fill in for Wallace. Minor league infield coordinator Dave Anderson will be in the bullpen. … T.J. McFarland was in the clubhouse before the game. He’s on hand to be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader. … The Orioles will leave for their nine-game West Coast trip on Sunday night and will spent the off day on Monday in San Diego.