BALTIMORE — Buck Showalter could possibly find out on Monday that he is losing catcher Matt Wieters for the rest of the season.
That would be the worst-case scenario coming from Wieters visiting Dr. James Andrews in Florida after still feeling discomfort in his right elbow. But Showalter said he is pleased with the catching depth that the organization now has.
Both catchers currently on the major-league roster weren't in Baltimore over two months ago on Opening Day. Nick Hundley was a member of the San Diego Padres and Caleb Joseph was beginning his seventh season in the Orioles' minor leagues.
Now, Joseph has earned his spot on the roster and has frequently been starting over Hundley, who was acquired by Baltimore in a trade for reliever Troy Patton on May 24.
Joseph didn't make his major-league debut until he was 27, which was earlier this season, much later than the average prospect.
But Showalter said Brady Anderson was often telling him that Joseph had the talent, he was just developing late.
"He's come a long way," Showalter said. "There's some late bloomers, I say all the time, especially with catchers in that 27 to 31 range, that start kind of figuring it out. If they have the want-to, and he did. Donny Warner and John [Russell] and himself worked on a lot of things, mostly to do with your footwork."
Warner, Baltimore's catching coordinator, and Russell, the Orioles' bench coach, needed to work with Joseph on his defense because, to that point, he was mainly just excelling at the plate, not behind it.
Perhaps the biggest improvement in Joseph's defense has been his ability to throw out runners attempting to steal. Joseph threw out Toronto's Anthony Gose attempting to steal on Friday night, improving to 8 for 18 on the season.
That was an area Baltimore had its struggles early in the season. Wieters, who had thrown out at least 31-percent of potential basestealers each of the last four seasons, was just 1 for 12, perhaps partially due to the discomfort in his throwing elbow.
Steve Clevenger was just 3 for 20 and Hundley is 1 for 7 since arriving in Baltimore. With the Padres, Hundley was 0 for 9.
"That's been basically probably the No. 1 thing I've worked on is my defense since I've been in pro ball," Joseph said. "There were a lot of questions whether or not I could play defense here in the big leagues."
The defense has earned Joseph a considerable amount of playing time recently, with him starting two of the three games against Boston and the first two games of the series against Toronto.
Showalter said most of the work Warner and Russell did with Joseph was mostly about throwing out potential basestealers.
"You can't receive the ball here and arm-strength it to second," Showalter said. "You've got to cheat a little bit with your feet."
And not only has Joseph worked on that, but he has also been the best option defensively behind the plate for Baltimore this season. That may be part of the reason Joseph is still in Baltimore too.
"I got more comfortable with certain things and I've been working really hard to keep that part of my game up to par," Joseph said. "I'd like to thing that's what's kind of kept me here."