BOSTON - Orioles manager Buck Showalter explained today’s roster move, with catcher Andrew Susac recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and Caleb Joseph optioned to the Tides, as being “best for everybody concerned.”
Susac is in tonight’s lineup and Joseph will be reporting to Norfolk after batting .182/.203/.325 in 24 games and going 4-for-19 throwing out runners attempting to steal. He also had four errors and two passed balls.
“Andrew has been doing well,” Showalter said. “Caleb, I think, could use a little break and kind of get back to some things he’s capable of. Get some consistent at-bats. Something we’ve been thinking about and just decided the time was best for him and Andrew. I’m sure Andrew’s excited about it. Somebody’s not and somebody is. He’s been working hard, too, to get an opportunity, so we’ll see.”
Showalter dreaded the conversation with Joseph, who also was optioned in August 2016.
“That’s a tough one, a tough one,” he said. “They’re all tough. But the type of respect we have for Caleb and the things he’s done here. It’s hard to see that... It could be the best thing over the long term.
“He’s actually been somewhat better lately. Just had an opportunity here. Andrew was healthy and doing pretty well. Just felt the timing was right. Get Caleb, see if we can get him going a little bit and also give Andrew a chance and see what we have there, too.”.
Showalter didn’t reveal much about his meeting with Joseph, who had five hits in 16 at-bats over his last four games to bring up his average from .148.
“I don’t broadcast private conversations like that,” he said. “Caleb and I, I think just like his teammates and the coaches, you know him for a long time and you know if affects a lot of things, especially when you know his family and everything. Those are the really tough conversations. Trust me, it wasn’t a fun morning, but it was a lot tougher on him. I try to keep that in mind. But you try to have it in a private area and give him a chance to voice what he’s thinking and feeling.
“He makes some good points that you have to give to him. At the end of the day he’ll go down there and he’ll get going and at some point he’ll return and be a contributor.
“Caleb does some things well. There aren’t many catchers who have a better track record in the minor leagues at hitting. There are some things he needs to get back to and he was close to it. I thought he had some really good at-bats lately. It’s a real challenge early on with the weather and everything catching. Caleb’s always been a very cerebral guy and able to separate the game and he’s done that here.
“Sure, we talked about a lot of really finite things, but sometimes when you’re having that conversation I’m sure it’s a little bit of a shock and you’re not really soaking in everything that’s being said, but I know John Russell talked to him after I did and a few days I’ll probably give him a call.”
The timing seemed right with the Red Sox starting left-handers David Price, Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez in the series.
“Maybe somewhat,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of an after-the-fact type of thing. These three left-handers, they’re on top of their game, it doesn’t matter if you’re left- or right-handed. But Andrew has shown the ability to do things against left-handed pitching. It’s certainly something that was discussed.”
Joseph appeared in only 49 games in 2016, compared to 100 the previous season, due to injury and his demotion. The Orioles brought him back in September, attempting via his stint in Norfolk to get him on track offensively. The same consistent at-bats that he’s now expected to receive.
“That’s what we’re hoping, but Andrew, I think everybody here’s hoping that he does real well,” Showalter said. “He’s 28 and picking up where he was before he was hurt and be as well thought of as he was. There’s room for all of them. The catching position is very volatile physically.
“Caleb is capable of being back here. I’m not going to say, ‘You’re right. That’s what happened in the past and could happen again and we hope for Caleb’s sake happens.” I’m not going to have Andrew thinking it’s X-number of games and then this guy’s back. He’s going to try to make an impact on our club and we hope he does.”
Darren O’Day will throw again on Friday, but he’s expected to stay on the 10-day disabled list.
“Getting closer, but not quite the quick progress we hoped,” Showalter said. “He’ll probably throw again tomorrow. I don’t see him, he’s not going to be activated tonight. I’m not going to say ‘no’ for sure tomorrow, but I’d say that might be a little stretch right now.
“He could actually have a throwing session and feel great and be activated. He could, but that probably won’t happen.”
Showalter hasn’t committed to a Sunday starter, but David Hess seems to be the likeliest choice at the moment. Miguel Castro also is in the running, depending on whether he’s needed for an extended relief outing. Showalter said Castro could throw an inning tonight and still eligible for Sunday’s assignment.
Castro hasn’t pitched since May 10, when he tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Royals. Showalter doesn’t want the layoff to extend into Sunday.
Update: J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer off Kevin Gausman with two outs in the first inning to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
Update II: Xander Bogaerts ended Gausman’s night with a three-run homer to give the Red Sox a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning. Andrew Benintendi had a sacrifice fly earlier in the inning. Gausman allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings and Boston stole five bases.