Caleb Joseph making impression behind plate with Orioles

Caleb Joseph making impression behind plate with Orioles
June 4, 2014, 6:15 pm
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For the fourth time since being recalled from Norfolk four weeks ago, Caleb Joseph is starting consecutive games for the Orioles.

Joseph’s rise is one of the more fascinating stories of a most interesting season for the Orioles.

For years, Joseph languished in the outback of the Orioles farm system, a catcher who was less than a month younger than Matt Wieters, spending four years at Bowie.

Last year Joseph finally broke out offensively, batting .299 with 22 home runs and 97 RBIs with the Baysox. The Orioles considered calling him up last September and putting him on the 40-man roster last fall.

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They did neither, but he came to camp hoping to get a more serious look than he did in the past. Joseph outlasted Johnny Monell, who had major league experience and was on the 40-man roster. And, once Norfolk’s season started, Joseph outplayed Monell, who the Orioles shipped off to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization last week.

Joseph made a better impression behind the plate than Steve Clevenger, who unhappily went off to the Tides when he was surprisingly sent down last week instead of Joseph.

The Orioles are 7-4 when Joseph starts. They’re 2-3 when Nick Hundley, who was acquired on May 25 starts, and they were 8-10 when Clevenger started. The Orioles lost six of the eight games Clevenger started once Matt Wieters went on the disabled list.

Joseph had his first multi-hit game on Tuesday, and he’s now 4-for-33. It’s funny. Joseph always had the reputation of an offense-first catcher, and that’s been reversed in the major leagues.

Wieters is likely to be sidelined at least another three weeks. In that time, Joseph could make a convincing case that he’s a true big league catcher. He’s certainly on his way.