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Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph heading to disabled list

Jacoby Ellsbury of the New York Yankees, right, is tagged out at home plate by Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 4, 2016 in Baltimore.
Jacoby Ellsbury of the New York Yankees, right, is tagged out at home plate by Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 4, 2016 in Baltimore. (Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph is heading to the 15-day disabled list after taking a foul ball to his groin in the eighth inning of Monday's loss to the Boston Red Sox, according to an industry source.

Joseph is set to be placed on the disabled list before Tuesday's game. The team plans to call up catcher Francisco Pena from Triple-A Norfolk to take his place.

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After Joseph was hit, he dropped to his knees for several moments in pain and was attended to by head trainer Richie Bancells. Joseph remained in Monday's game, but was taken to an area hospital afterward as a precaution. Apparently the injury is serious enough to warrant a DL stint.

Joseph has struggled at the plate this season, hitting just .182/.239/.212 in 23 games. In 71 plate appearances, Joseph has yet to post a single RBI after driving in 49 runs in 100 games last season.

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But Joseph's solid work behind the plate has allowed him to be a key reserve behind starter Matt Wieters, especially since Wieters has caught three consecutive days just once this season.

Joseph has thrown out eight of 23 attempted base stealers this season (34.7 percent), which is above the 30 percent major league average. He also ranks third in the American League in runs above average (4.0) by his pitch framing, according to Statcorner.com.

Pena, who is the only other catcher on the Orioles' 40-man roster, is hitting just .200/.241/.250 with no homers and six RBIs in 24 games with the Tides. But the Orioles have placed a greater emphasis on defensive work behind the plate than hitting in promoting catchers.

Pena played briefly for the Kansas City Royals in 2014 and 2015, going 1-for-7 at the plate. He is the son of former major league catcher and current New York Yankees first base coach Tony Pena.

Audry Perez would have been another consideration to join the team from Norfolk – he's hitting a robust .327/.387/.430 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 30 games with the Tides. But he would have to be added to the 40-man roster to be promoted.

Pena being promoted to replace Joseph was first reported by The Virginian Pilot.

eencina@baltsun.com
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