The exact nature of the injury is unknown, but Joseph was taken to a nearby hospital yesterday after being hit by a foul ball in his groin area during the eighth inning. He stayed in the game, a 7-2 loss to the Red Sox, before the Orioles set up an examination.
Joseph knelt on the ground for several minutes trying to catch his breath while head athletic trainer Richie Bancells attended to him.
“He’s getting checked,” manager Buck Showalter said afterward. “Some residual from the lick he took.”
Catcher Francisco Pena is headed to Baltimore as Joseph’s replacement. Known more for his work behind the plate, Pena is batting .200/.241/.250 with two doubles, a triple and six RBIs in 24 games at Triple-A Norfolk. He’s thrown out 11 of 23 runners attempting to steal.
The Orioles purchased Pena’s contract from the Royals on Dec. 2. He’s on the 40-man roster.
Pena, the son of former major league catcher and current Yankees coach Tony Pena, appeared in one game with Royals in 2014 and eight in 2015. He’s 1-for-7 with three strikeouts.
The Orioles also could have selected the contract of catcher Audry Perez, who’s batting .327/.387/.430 with five doubles, two home runs and 14 RBIs in 30 games with the Tides.
Joseph went 1-for-3 yesterday and is batting .182 with no home runs or RBIs in 23 games. He’s thrown out eight of 23 runners attempting to steal, and his percentage might be higher except that he’s caught eight of Ubaldo Jimenez’s starts.
Joseph appeared in 100 games last season, his workload increased by Matt Wieters recovering from “Tommy John” surgery. He had 16 doubles, 11 home runs and 49 RBIs, with a slash line of .234/.299/.394.
The Orioles are fortunate that Wieters is able to catch consecutive games, reducing the amount of starts needed from Pena.
The Virginian-Pilot first reported that Pena was headed to Baltimore.
Update: The Orioles made the roster move official. Joseph is on the DL with a “testicular injury.”
Pena hit safely in five of his last six games with the Tides, batting .353/.421/.353 (6-for-17).