Nick Hundley’s trade to the Orioles is less than 24 hours old. But it sure hasn’t taken him long to adjust to it, it seems. In his first interview in the O’s clubhouse this morning, you could tell the catcher was very excited to join this team.
“I woke up (yesterday) to a call from our GM Josh Byrnes, our former GM and I didn’t know where I was going. But if there is one place I’d want to be, it would be here,” he said. “When he told me I was going to Baltimore, it was really, really exciting.”
So what about coming here made him so excited?
“The winning atmosphere. Great tradition,” he said. “I got to play in interleague here last year. Unbelievable ballpark. The fans and city. A storied manager, a guy I know I can learn a lot from in terms of getting prepared and running games.
“I talked to Chris Young, a good friend of mine with the Mariners who came up with the Rangers under Buck (Showalter.) He said he has never played for someone more prepared. So, a lot of positive things.”
Hundley, 30, is batting .271 (16-for-59) this season with one homer and three RBIs. He is 5-for-25 (.200) in May. Over his seven-year career with San Diego, he has hit .238, with 47 homers and 195 RBIs in 510 games, and thrown out 28 percent of those trying to steal.
One thing he will need to do is get up to speed on the Orioles pitchers.
“I need to go quick and be on it from day one,” Hundley said. “Right when I put this shirt on. I need to know the arms, what makes them tick. Be able to get comfortable with them and help get the most out of them.”
Hundley was asked if he knew O’s catcher Matt Wieters.
“Just playing against him and watching him from afar. But admire his game and respect the talent, ability and leadership,” Hundley said. “Don’t think anyone has ever said a bad word about him. You know, a face of the franchise. Heard a lot of great things about him, and I’ll pick his brain to learn what makes these arms tick.
“But I’m excited to play at Camden Yards in front of these fans, passionate fans. Hope we can give them something to cheer about.”
As Hundley arrives, one catcher is now likely to go, and Caleb Joseph could get optioned back to the minors.
If that happens, he said he is happy that he finally made the majors and pleased with the impression he feels that he made here.
“Coming in, there was probably some talk about whether I could catch or not,” Joseph said. “I know I can catch in the big leagues. I know I have what it takes skill-wise, mentally and preparation-wise.
“I know my bat didn’t show but I’m confident in that. People don’t understand you go from playing every day in the minors, and you come here and don’t play every day. Your timing can get messed up, but it’s not an excuse.
“I was learning to adjust my approaches to make it more solid without everyday reps. I didn’t feel overmatched at all. Just had some timing issues. I know I can play in the big leagues now, and that is gratifying. They gave me a chance and I helped the team win some games. Did the job the best I could.”
Should he return to Norfolk, Joseph will try to hit the ground running there and not be down about no longer being in the majors.
“I know that I don’t have a choice to go down there and sulk or anything,” he said. “My only job is to go there and play the best I can to try to get back here. I won’t spend anytime feeling bad. Just go down there and play the best I can.”
Update: Well, there is more than one reason why we wrote Joseph was “possibly” getting optioned. One: It had not happened yet as of earlier today.
Here’s another reason: He will not be optioned out today. Not only is Joseph not heading to the minors today, he is starting at catcher this afternoon, Buck Showalter said in his pregame press conference.
Hundley is going to be activated at some point before today’s game and some corresponding move will have to be made. Showalter said the O’s will, for now, carry three catchers.
So Joseph remains an Oriole and is behind the plate today.