When Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph hit his first career home run Sunday, his teammates gave him the silent treatment as he returned to the dugout.
On Monday night, after the rookie blasted his second career homer, the Orioles didn’t have to hide their excitement.
After 25 games in the major leagues without a home run, Joseph hit a solo shot in back-to-back games, the latest landing several rows deep into the left-field seats at Camden Yards in the eighth inning of a 6-4 win over the Chicago White Sox.
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“I was just looking for anything up because [White Sox reliever Zach Putnam] kind of showed me both the split and the fastball in that at-bat,” Joseph said. “I was just trying to make solid contact, and he left one up, and I was fortunate to get some barrel on it.”
After more than six years in the minor leagues before making his major league debut May 7, Joseph has struggled offensively with the Orioles in the last two months.
Joseph, 28, is hitting .176 with just six extra-base hits in the majors, but he has shown some signs of improvement lately, including hits in four of his last five games and a 3-for-3 night Monday.
“It just takes some time to get accustomed just to the way these guys operate here in the big leagues,” Joseph said. “I feel confident up there, and my teammates, they've been breathing confidence into me, showing faith, and they've been great. It's good that some hard work is paying off, and I’m not there yet.
“I’m feeling confident each and every day that my approach and what I’m working on is going to produce.”
Matt Wieters’ season-ending elbow surgery means that Joseph, alongside Nick Hundley, will likely be the Orioles’ go-to catchers as they challenge for the American League East crown.
Neither player hits as well as Wieters, but Joseph’s newfound power after laboring through the transition to major league pitching is a welcome addition to the lineup.
“I think guys who go down that path understand how hard it is to get here, and probably, it’s harder to stay here,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I think, we don't put too much pressure on him and [Hundley], but they realize that Matty ain’t coming back this year. So they know that we're counting on them to be good.”