Joseph on Gausman: "He looked like a major leaguer for sure"

Steve Clevenger registered three-hit games on Saturday and Monday. Caleb Joseph collected his first major league hit last night, threw out two runners attempting to steal and cut down another runner trying to advance to third base on a ball in the dirt.

If not for the umpires reversing an out call in the ninth inning, he would have finished with three caught stealings and probably been elected mayor.

Maybe the Orioles' catching situation is in good hands after all.

I've heard that the Orioles checked free-agent catcher Kelly Shoppach's medical records over the weekend. That's not to imply that they have serious interest. I don't know the level.

Clevenger figures to catch Kevin Gausman this afternoon. The Tigers are starting right-hander Justin Verlander and it appears that manager Buck Showalter is working a platoon system behind the plate.

Joseph said he caught each of Gausman's five starts before the right-hander went on the disabled list with pneumonia.

"I had pneumonia when I was in high school and I was out for like three weeks," Joseph said. "I lost 20 pounds. I almost died. It was terrible. So, when he said, 'Pneumonia,' I was like, 'Oh, my gosh.' But, yeah, I guess he had a smaller case and they zapped it out of him pretty quick, because the next day he was bouncing around like nothing ever happened."

Gausman didn't allow a run over 4 2/3 innings in his last start before going on the DL, and he tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday while Joseph sat in the Orioles dugout.

Overall, Gausman posted a 2.08 ERA in six starts with Norfolk, and that includes an April 15 game against the Gwinnett Braves, when he allowed four runs and seven hits in three innings.

"Really sharp, minus one outing in Gwinnett ,where it was a wind chill of like 22," Joseph said. "It was just unbelievably cold. I could barely even feel my fingers. But without that start, he was really sharp. Really commanding the ball nicely. Slider was really nice, split.

"He looked very mature out there. And he never panicked. That's one thing we really talked about was how much he had just grown. He looked like a major leaguer for sure, without a doubt."

Gausman has been working to develop a slider as a third pitch.

"Just trying to build some consistency with the depth and the sharpness and the rotation," Joseph said. "From what I remember, it was very nice. Threw a lot of really nice sliders and located the ball. Fastball really, really well. He really had an idea of what he wanted to do and when he wanted to elevate and when he wanted to go inside, when he wanted to throw it off the plate. With all pitches, he was really executing very nicely."

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