Orioles notes: After filling full-time roles, Caleb Joseph, Ryan Flaherty ready to adjust

Catcher Caleb Joseph and infielder Ryan Flaherty, everyday players due to injuries at their positions in the first half, will spend the All-Star break recharging and adjusting to roles that might see their playing time reduced in the second half.

Joseph started 42 of the Orioles' 53 games before catcher Matt Wieters returned from a year out with an elbow injury, and has equitably split time while the former All-Star builds up arm.


The 29-year-old Joseph said the break comes at a time when he's getting used to his new split role with Wieters.

"The All-Star break is always a great time to take some time off and readjust and really put some emphasis and focus on what each individual can do better, which will eventually help the team," he said. "The All-Star break is always rejuvenation for a lot of guys that are playing all the time and banged up and injured."


Manager Buck Showalter has seen the schedule adjustment help Joseph already. After swatting his sixth home run of the season Saturday against the Nationals, Joseph spent 45 minutes in the weight room because he knew he'd be off Sunday.

Not having to catch every day has made it so Joseph can do the extra video, skill, and weight work to sustain him better through a long season.

"There's no amount of work or preparation or strength training that can prepare you for catching every day," Joseph said. "It's just inevitable that you're going to kind of wear out a little bit."

Flaherty missed time with a groin issue in late April and early May, but was a starter nearly every day otherwise with shortstop J.J. Hardy and second baseman Jonathan Schoop missing time with shoulder and knee injuries, respectively.

But with Schoop now back and the Orioles' first-choice middle infield now available, Flaherty, who is batting .244 with three home runs and 20 RBIs in 53 games, will go back to reserve duty.

He'll spend the break in his native Maine, and bring back the mentality that allowed him to be a useful bench player in his first three seasons with the Orioles.

"You come to the field look to see if you're in the lineup," Flaherty said. "If you are, great. If not, you never know, maybe you help the team later in the night. It changes on a nightly basis. …

"There's 13 position players and 13 guys want to play every night, but there's nine spots. Those four [other] guys have to do what they can to help the team, contribute in other ways," he said.

Young to be patient

The agent for Delmon Young said his client will take his time in selecting a new team, but a return to the Orioles organization as a minor leaguer is not an option currently being considered.

Young, who was designated for assignment on July 1, was released Thursday after the club failed to find a trade partner for him.

Young's agent, Joel Wolfe, said "three or four teams" have inquired about his client since Thursday's release, but no deal was imminent this weekend.


Wolfe said Young will patiently look for the best opportunity for playing time on a club that has a chance at making the playoffs. Young has appeared in six consecutive postseasons, the current record for active players.

"Delmon's not a Nervous Nellie," Wolfe said. "He's looking for the best possible fit."

When the Orioles first took Young off its roster, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette didn't dismiss a potential return later this season.

Wolfe wouldn't rule out that possibility either, saying anything can happen in baseball. But he added that Young's focus right now is securing a major league job, and therefore going to the minors with the Orioles is not top option at the moment.

Young batted .270 with two homers in 52 games for the Orioles this year. In 2014, he batted .302, was 10-for-20 as pinch-hitter in the regular season and was a playoff hero, with a pinch-hit, three-run double in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

The Orioles are on the hook for roughly $1 million left on Young's 2015 contract, though if another team picks him up, that club would have to pay the prorated league minimum.

Wright creates roster headache

Left-hander Wesley Wright's rehab assignment as he works back from a left trapezius muscle strain ends on Sunday, and Showalter didn't say whether he would be activated.

Wright pitched Saturday for Triple-A Norfolk, and allowed four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings for the Tides. In 11 appearances for Norfolk, Wright has a 7.71 ERA with a 1.89 WHIP.

Before going on the disabled list, Wright made just two appearances for the Orioles.

It's difficult timing considering his results, the pending break, and the Orioles' lack of roster flexibility.

"I'm hoping for the rest of the year, there's not an obvious spot ever [to add someone]," Showalter said. "There's always a way."

Showalter doesn't see a way a 25-man roster spot "just magically appears" this season, but believes the Orioles "have all the flexibility we need."

Around the horn

Showalter let slip that the Orioles will need to make a move to add a fifth starter later this month, indicating that Kevin Gausman will be the selection when the Orioles next need a fifth starter July 22 against the New York Yankees. Gausman started for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday against Charlotte and pitched five innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits while walking four and striking out three. He took the loss. ... Right-hander Zach Davies threw 2/3 of an inning in MLB All-Star Futures Game, allowing a single to load the bases with two outs in the eighth inning before striking out Yorman Rodriguez to end the inning. He also retired the only batter he faced in the ninth.



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