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Orioles notes: Corban Joseph called up as Chris Davis continues to search for answers

While struggling first baseman Chris Davis continues to look for a way out of his interminable slump, the Orioles are giving minor league journeyman Corban Joseph a chance to show what he can do at the major league level.

Joseph, the brother of catcher Caleb Joseph, was called up from Double-A Bowie as part of a flurry of roster moves Friday. He replaced pitcher Yefry Ramírez, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after making a spot start against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. The Orioles also placed left-hander Richard Bleier on the disabled list with a torn lat muscle and recalled rookie left-hander Tanner Scott.

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Manager Buck Showalter wasted no time getting Joseph into the mix, starting him at first base Friday night and putting him at the top of the batting order.

Richard Bleier was the Orioles' best reliever this season before a lat injury likely ended his year.

“He’s having a special kind of season for the most part,” Showalter said. “If you look at all the stats — on-base, strikeouts — all the things we’ve been challenged with here he was doing at that level. The guy’s been around a long time. He’s been in the big leagues before. He’s played first base, second base mostly.”

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Joseph, 29, made his major league debut with the New York Yankees, appearing in two games in 2013. He said soon after his arrival in the Orioles clubhouse that he didn’t know if he would get back to the majors, but didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on that.

“It’s been a while,” he said, “but I think it’s part of the game. The grind is what makes this game so special that you can have success in the game, and you might not be where you want to be — but as long as you keep on working hard and try to do your best.

“I really didn’t think about it much. I was more focused on the team in Bowie and trying to help the team win ballgames. That’s what it all comes down to, and just trying to control what I can control at the park.”

He was on an offensive roll with the Baysox. He played in 59 games and produced a .336/.394/.550 slash line with eight home runs and 34 RBIs. That might have come at the Double-A level, but Showalter isn’t discounting anything at this point in a season of scant offensive production from his major league hitters.

“This guy’s a professional hitter,” Showalter said. “You’ve heard me say that, from 28 to 31, guys start figuring out some things about themselves. He’s never had a bad year. He’s always been a good offensive player.

“Dissect his numbers. I don’t care what level you’re doing that at. … There is some relevancy to it. I think you’ll see a guy put a professional at-bat together. We’re all pulling for him. He’s good people.”

Bowie manager Gary Kendall clearly enjoyed telling Joseph that he was going up.

“I take my hat off to Corban,” Kendall said, “because he was prepared and his desire, his love, his passion — he was just so dedicated to getting back up there because he had been up there a little bit with New York. The credit is his, he's worked really hard and we’re so happy for him.”

The only thing that would have made it better for Joseph is if Caleb were with the Orioles when he arrived.

“I would have loved to have him here,” Corban said. “I know he’s taking care of business in Norfolk and he’s doing what needs to get done and it’s just a matter of time before he gets back up. So I’m looking forward to him coming back up and hopefully we can [play together].”

Davis on new program

Davis was out of the lineup Friday and Showalter said he will stay there while he makes a refocused effort to figure out his problems at the plate. What that actually means is unclear.

Showalter seemed adamant Davis needed to concentrate on a single new approach after searching in circles for months, but when asked whether that could mean a lengthy absence from the lineup, the manager balked.

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“I don’t think it’ll be that long,” Showalter said. “I hope it’s tomorrow. I hope it’s the day after tomorrow. I just know it’s not today and there is no closed end on it, but I’m hoping it’s sooner rather than later. I’d love to get back the Chris Davis we all know he’s capable of being. It hasn’t been there this year.”

Orioles infielder Tim Beckham, out for two months with a core muscle injury, begins a week-long rehab stint with Double-A Bowie on Friday with six innings at third base.

The Orioles obviously are not expecting a quick fix.

“It’s kind of a new approach with some new things he’s trying,’’ Showalter said. “This is not something you’re going to do in one day and it’ll work out and it’s going to all pop in one night. If that was the case, it would have happened a long time ago. This is something you’ve got to give a little time to and know that when you get into a game and you don’t hit a line drive over the center fielder’s head the first swing you take that you don’t throw anything out. If you’re looking for instant return on stuff, this game doesn’t allow that.”

Around the horn

Third baseman Tim Beckham, who has been on the 60-day disabled list after core muscle surgery, is in the lineup tonight at Bowie. He’ll play third and bat second. … The Orioles have 13 interleague games left on their schedule, with nine straight starting Friday. They’ll play their second series at the Washington Nationals beginning Tuesday and then three games at the Atlanta Braves next weekend. … Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Friday that Camden Yards was his favorite visiting ballpark when he was a player. Oriole Park opened toward the tail end of Mattingly’s career with the Yankees – he only played in 24 games there from 1992-95 – but he had success at Camden Yards, hitting .344/.377/.521 in 106 career plate appearances at the ballpark. “That building out there, that skyline, the scenery, you see the ball good,” Mattingly said. “The fans are on top of you. Good energy here. I like it. Everything but the rain. It would rain all the time, and lots of it. When it rains, it pours."

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