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Caleb Joseph, hopeful of quick return for Matt Wieters, gives scouting report on catching depth

Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph got his long-awaited chance in the majors two years ago when starter Matt Wieters went on the shelf with an elbow injury that ultimately led to Tommy John surgery.

Twenty-two months removed from that, and with Wieters dealing with soreness in that same right throwing elbow, Joseph said he hasn't really spoken to Wieters about the injury but doesn't think it will impact his own preparation as spring training winds down.

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"I'm not a doctor," Joseph said. "I haven't really even spoken to Matt, but Matt will be back. Matt will be ready. I'm not anticipating any sort of change.

"I might see a few more innings here the next couple days in spring, but from being in a kind of 'backup' role, the only thing that's different is the fact that your name is in the lineup more if you get shifted full-time," he said. "The game day routine stays the same."

Even players who get the "backup" tag, he said, prepare to play 162 games and have the same routine whether they're in the lineup or not. That extends to spring training, where he has battled illness and missed four days and has just one hit in 16 at-bats over six games.

Wieters said Sunday that he was still stiff and sore, but he and manager Buck Showalter didn't disclose an exact diagnosis of what's resulting in the discomfort that began when he threw to second base on a steal in the first inning of Saturday's game. The arm continued to bother him throwing back to the pitcher, and he was removed before his first plate appearance.

Showalter said immediately after the injury that the Orioles have minor league catchers who could lessen the burden on the three catchers in major league camp other than Wieters: Joseph, Francisco Pena and Audry Perez.

Joseph provided a brief scouting report on his two peers Monday.

Pena, who is on the 40-man roster, was acquired in December from the Kansas City Royals.

"He's got a World Series ring," Joseph said. "He didn't play a ton, but he's played in the big leagues. He's got some experience. His father is [longtime major league manager and coach] Tony, so he's a wealth of knowledge there.

"In my opinion, he's always super-engaged, and I think he handles the glove very well as well," he said.

Pena has played seven games, collecting a double in 12 spring training at-bats.

The 27-year-old Perez is a player whom Showalter got strong reports on last year in Triple-A Norfolk and has impressed Joseph in their time together.

"I've talked to a few [pitchers] about him and they speak highly of Audry," Joseph said. "He's quiet, goes about his business. He's got a really good arm, can really throw the ball. You saw a couple days ago he has some pop in the bat. He receives the ball really well."

Perez homered after coming into the game for Wieters on Saturday, and has a double and a home run in six at bats (seven games) this spring.

"They're both going to be great additions," Joseph said. "I really think they can help contribute."

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