SARASOTA, Fla. - Catcher Caleb Joseph is in major league spring training for the third time. He is coming off his best offensive season in the Orioles minor leagues and trying to show Buck Showalter what he can do whenever he gets a chance.
He got the start Thursday going 0-for-3 against the Yankees and is 1-for-7 with an RBI in six spring games. He is starting today’s game here at Ed Smith Stadium, catching and batting eighth. Matt Wieters’ sprained right ankle is probably getting Joseph a few more at-bats than he would be getting this deep into camp.
For now, he’s enjoying every minute he gets to spend in the major league clubhouse.
“It’s been great,” Joseph said. “Really awesome. You can just tell the level of character this organization has and is placing on players they are bringing in with both staff and players. It’s a different feel than in years past. Lot of guys here really know the game and the attitudes are great. Everyone is in this together and it feels good to be a part of that.”
After playing the last four years at the Double-A level, he’d like to get a chance at Triple-A Norfolk this season but he hasn’t heard about his assignment for this year just yet.
“No, they haven’t said anything,” Joseph said. “Quite honestly, I’m really not worried about it. Today I’m in the major leagues and I’m loving every minute of it.”
Joseph had a big year on offense for Double-A Bowie in 2013, batting .299 with 31 doubles, 22 homers, 97 RBIs and an .840 OPS. He led all O’s minor leaguers in homers, RBIs, runs and extra-base hits and also threw out 19 of 70 (27.1 percent) attempting to steal. It was a big year and how can he top that?
“Just duplicate it,” he said. “If I can continue to build on that success and duplicate it, awesome. I feel like I took some good steps last year, especially on offense and just figured some stuff out.
“But they are serious when they talk about defense here and they are really looking at that. I am trying to really focus on my defense so far.
“Focusing on everything on defense. Nothing in particular, but trying to be solid in all areas like receiving, blocking and throwing. That’s the goal,” Joseph said.
Here are some notes on Friday’s minor league exhibition games:
* Triple-A Norfolk won 5-2. Oliver Drake started and gave up just one hit over two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Chih-Hsien Chiang was 2-for-3 with a triple.
* Double-A Bowie won 10-6. Tim Berry pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with three strikeouts. Glynn Davis was 1-for-2 with a walk and double. Henry Wrigley was 2-for-4 with a solo homer and three RBIs. Michael Ohlman went 1-for-4 with another homer, a two-run shot, his third in just three spring games.
* Single-A Frederick lost 7-4. Zach Clark started, allowing one run over two innings. Jon Keller went two innings, giving up three hits and one run with two strikeouts. Greg Lorenzo was 2-for-3 with two singles. Creede Simpson was 1-for-2 with a triple and walk.
* Single-A Delmarva lost 10-8. Yariel Vargas went 1-for-2 with two walks. Drew Dosch was 1-for-2 with an RBI single and two walks. Randolph Gassaway had two singles in a 2-for-4 day and Jonah Heim went 1-for-2 with a single.