Buck Showalter and the Orioles are obviously set at catcher with Matt Wieters, who has represented the club at the All-Star Game the past two years and has a pair of Gold Glove awards collecting dust somewhere.
But Showalter is also quite fond of backup catcher Taylor Teagarden and raved about him on Sunday morning.
Before the 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of my peers told Showalter that a few Orioles players had suggested that Teagarden actually had a stronger arm than Wieters, who has thrown out four of seven runners this season. They said the difference for Wieters, though, is that he has a quicker release than Teagarden.
Showalter thought about it for a couple of seconds.
“Understand, I'm not agreeing with that,” he said. “I'm saying Tea has a really good arm. I would match his pure arm strength up against anybody. He can suck the air out of the infield throwing the ball down to second. I did infield a few times in spring training, which is a highlight for me, and when you hear a ball come out of a guy's hand -- it's kind of like a guy with a good curveball. You can hear it. He can whistle it. It's pretty effortless, too.”
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp stole a base off Teagarden on Saturday night, but Teagarden threw out Darin Mastroianni of the Minnesota Twins in his other game behind the plate this season.
In his six-year career, Teagarden, who was drafted by the Texas Rangers when Showalter was their manager, has thrown out 33 of the 97 runners who have attempted to run on him. That’s 34 percent. Wieters, on the other hand, has thrown out 118 of the 349 runners attempting to steal on him. That's 33.8 percent.
I find those similar numbers pretty interesting.
I also find many things Showalter has to say pretty interesting as he meanders from subject to subject during his press conferences, eventually circling back to his original thought.
In his answer, he also touched on Teagarden’s power potential as a hitter. Teagarden does not have a hit this season in seven at-bats and has batted .141 since arriving in Baltimore, but he became a fan favorite and a folk hero of sorts for his clutch hits last season.
“Not many guys on our team have more pure power than Teagarden. He can hit it where the grass never grows,” he said.
Make no mistake, Showalter loves Wieters and clearly respects the heck out of him. But with the Orioles not getting another off-day until two weeks from today, Showalter hinted Sunday that it might be Teagarden time at least a couple of times in the next two weeks.
Showalter, who pointed to the job that Teagarden did last September when Wieters missed time to be with his wife for the birth of his first son, is more than comfortable with that.
“It's a good tandem,” Showalter said. “I think Tea will be ready for anything we hand him because he gives himself a chance to."