MILWAUKEE – The Orioles made one expected move on Tuesday, and one that wasn’t. While reinstating Chris Davis from the paternity list, they optioned catcher Steve Clevenger to Norfolk.
The Orioles had been carrying three catchers since Sunday when Nick Hundley reported, and despite Clevenger’s experience, they elected to keep Caleb Joseph.
“There’s not a good or bad decision. We want Stevie to catch every day right not, kind of get back where he was. He’s very close to it. We just think with the dynamic of him and Matt [Wieters] and now until we got an idea of Nick a little bit, it kind of fits a little better. It’s 51-49 percent. If you ask 10 guys in the decision making process, it might be five and five,” Showalter sais.
“We like both of them, they both have options. We are fortunate to have three guys that can help us up here. I like the idea of getting Stevie catching every day. Not looking at the lineup, always got to look at where he is hitting in the order. Kind of get everything to slow down a little bit,” Showalter said.
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Wieters is on the disabled list with a right elbow injury, and the uncertainty about whether he’ll play or not this season weighed on Showalter.
“Yeah, that’s part of it. I want him to kind of get back in that flow of catching every day. And in a perfect world, Caleb would be doing that too. But if Matt comes back, if that is heading in that direction, it might change the dynamics of how we look at it,” Showalter said.
Clevenger is hitting .243 with eight RBIs. Joseph is just 1-for-23.
“I’ve been impressed with both of them, him and Stevie. They are high effort, they are pleasers they want to do whatever it takes with the pitching staff. They are very approachable and they share their thoughts. I like both of them. They both did a good job,” Showalter said.
“No one’s happy when they’re optioned,” Clevenger said. “But what can I do about it? I’m going to go down to Triple-A and hit .300 like I do every year.”
The Orioles’ record when Clevenger catches is 8-10. Under Joseph, they’re 5-3. Clevenger has thrown out just three of 20 runners trying to steal, Joseph four of 10.
Showalter said the decision wasn’t final until shortly before he broke the news to Clevenger. He discussed it with Dan Duquette, the team’s executive vice president of baseball operations, bench coach John Russell, pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti.
“Looked at a lot of different things. The good news is they are both ours. They have options and can provide some depth. Regardless of which one I called in there I didn’t like it. I don’t like sending out good players. We are doing a lot more of that,” Showalter said.