ARLINGTON, Texas -- Catcher Caleb Joseph started again Wednesday, his fourth start in the Orioles’ last five games. This time, Joseph started against a right-hander after making his previous three starts against left-handers.
Joseph had just two hits in his first 29 at-bats in the major leagues before he went 2-for-4 in Tuesday’s 8-3 win over the Rangers for his first career multihit game. He opened up the Orioles’ six-run eighth inning with an RBI double.
Joseph said he and hitting coach Jim Presley made an impromptu adjustment in his stance before that at-bat.
“I've kind of been getting under some balls, [and] just a very minute adjustment in my stance allowed me to stay on top of the ball,” Joseph said. “A lot of my outs have been [when] I'm just under the ball, so when I'm playing well, I really drive through the ball, down through it. Something clicked. He said something, and it clicked, and we're rolling with it now.”
Both Joseph and Nick Hundley, whom the Orioles acquired last month in a trade from the San Diego Padres, are right-handed hitters. They’re splitting time while Matt Wieters is on the DL, but Joseph has played more recently.
“I try to keep them both in the flow — try to,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “But obviously someone steps out and really gets it going. … I feel fine with both of them catching. We'll see. They both have a track record at some point in their career of hitting well. It's just that Hundley has done it more at the big league level, but not really that recently.”
Joseph has a familiarity with the pitching staff from working in major league camp with the Orioles in the spring, which has helped him to adjust after his promotion from Triple-A last month.
“I think both of them have done a good job,” Showalter said. “[Joseph’s] been calm. It's another benefit of having him in camp with all the pitchers. He's caught them all. He's a watcher, very visual. Watches the games.” He's in Wieters' brain a lot, and he asks a lot of good questions. He's not spectating. He's trying to draw something. And he's been able to take it in the game with him. He's done a good job calling the game, as has Hundley.”
Hunter could return Saturday
Right-hander Tommy Hunter is scheduled to pitch a simulated game before Thursday’s game in Texas, and he could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Saturday.
If Hunter, who is on the disabled list with a left groin strain, doesn’t have any setbacks after Thursday’s outing, the Orioles will decide he would need to pitch again Saturday. He could pitch in another simulated game or a minor league rehabilitation game at Low-A Delmarva, or the Orioles could activate him.
Hunter tested his groin Wednesday in Texas by participating in pitcher’s fielding practice drills — covering first base, and fielding comebackers and bunts in front of the mound. Hunter said he felt “great” after the session.
Even if Hunter needs an additional outing Saturday, he would be on track to be activated Monday.
Around the horn
Left-hander Johan Santana, who was added to the 40-man roster and placed on the 15-day major league disabled list to continue his rehab, will make his next start Friday at extended spring training in Sarasota, Fla. He is expected to throw five innings or 75 pitches. His next start is to be determined, but it would appear that he would join a minor league affiliate, likely Norfolk. … Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy is scheduled to pitch in his first minor league game on June 15 for short-season Class-A Aberdeen on the road against Hudson Valley, Showalter said. … Norfolk outfielder Henry Urrutia, who is currently on the minor league disabled list after sports hernia surgery, will begin jogging outside on Friday in Sarasota. … Right-hander Ryan Webb also participated in PFP drills with Hunter. Webb said he missed the last PFP drill and was asked by bullpen coach Dom Chiti to take PFPs on Wednesday after he missed a bunt play in a recent outing. … High-A Frederick outfielder Glynn Davis and left-hander Matt Taylor were selected for the Carolina League All-Star Game on June 17 in Wilmington, Del.