Life without Teagarden

The Orioles will place backup catcher Taylor Teagarden on the disabled list today with a dislocated left thumb. They’re not going to make an announcement until his replacement gets to Oakland.

The corresponding move would figure to involve Triple-A Norfolk’s Luis Exposito, who’s on the 40-man roster. Chris Robinson is not, and he caught last night for the Tides. He probably would have been scratched if the Orioles intended to select his contract.

Caleb Joseph was behind the plate last night at Double-A Bowie. He’s mostly been playing first base and serving as the designated hitter. He’s swung a hot bat this month, but he’s not expected to replace Teagarden.

Brian Ward isn’t headed to Oakland. It would be a shocker if his Bowie teammate, Luis Martinez, had hopped on a plane.

Exposito’s defense didn’t impress the Orioles this spring. His bat already was considered ahead of his mitt, and he had a few miscues in exhibition games that stood out.

One day, Exposito used his mask to scoop up a ball, resulting in a catcher’s interference call that enabled Tampa Bay’s Wil Myers to score the winning run. He also fired a ball into left field as a runner on second base jogged to third, and he had trouble blocking balls in the dirt and preventing wild pitches.

Exposito was 8-for-21 in 14 exhibition games, with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs.

Exposito is 1-for-15 throwing out runners attempting to steal this season. He’s batting .218/.254/.273 with three doubles and six RBIs in 16 games.

Teams usually settle for good catch-and-throw guys as their backups. The Orioles aren’t in a position right now to be selective.

Last season, Exposito collected one hit in 18 at-bats with the Orioles, getting his first major league hit off the Texas Rangers’ Derek Holland.

Early projections have Teagarden missing the next three to four weeks. The Orioles must decide whether they can get by with Exposito in a limited role.

They weren’t satisfied with Ronny Paulino’s work behind the plate last season, which created an opportunity for Exposito while Teagarden remained on the disabled list with a strained back. Exposito was a slight upgrade - his conditioning alone gave him the edge - but do the Orioles trust him to do the light lifting as Wieters’ backup?

Yesterday’s injury to Teagarden didn’t suddenly put the Orioles in the market for another backup catcher. They’ve been in that mode since spring training.

While we’re down on the farm, Jair Jurrjens allowed one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings last night for the Tides, with two walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 101 pitches, 64 for strikes.

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