May 22, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcherSteve Clevenger
(45) prepares to throw down to first base in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Indians defeated the Orioles 8-7 in thirteen innings. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger both go north with the O’s …
This particular prediction is predicated upon the assumption that Matt Wieters is not going to be quite ready for opening day. No, Wieters is not a pitcher, but Tommy John surgery is a big deal, especially as close to it as Wieters remains. And even though he is a mountain of a man with a canon for an arm, it is a very long throw to second base.
I believe the Orioles will exercise an abundance of caution for the early season and give Matt several more weeks of rehab assignment to get fully ready before joining the Birds. I can even tell you right now what Showalter is going to say when this announced … “Matt is worth waiting for.”
So, it will be Clevenger and Joseph in a sort of platooning situation.
Clearly the Orioles are pleased at this early juncture with the Clevenger that appeared at camp this season as compared to the fellow of a year ago. There is little reading between the lines that in 2014 he was not in the sort of condition they desired, especially defensively. Even so, he was a beast of a hitter last spring – one hit shy of .500 with a 17-for-36 effort and two home runs. He can hit, there is no doubt about that.
There was everything to like about Joseph’s effort defensively last year. It was simply great; and it was one of the key contributing storylines to a 96-win season. However, that batting average was not so good, a curiosity given his minor league hitting career. He could well improve a great deal.
So, whichever of the two is playing the best when Wieters returns gets to stay, while the other goes to catch in Norfolk.
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