Not long after the Orioles drafted Caleb Joseph in the seventh round of the 2008 draft, I remember reading an interview with him where he said something like, "Someone has to be Matt Wieters' backup." That was back when Wieters seemed like a mega-star in the making. You had to appreciate a guy who just recognized reality.
Joseph toiled in the minors in the years since, never really cracking above Double-A before this season. He spent all of last year at Bowie and batted .299/.346/.494, which is about what you'd expect for a guy nearly three years older than the average player in that league. He's now 28 and finally getting his big league chance with Wieters limited to designated hitter duty. The Orioles have selected Joseph's contract from Norfolk and optioned Jemile Weeks to make room on the active roster.
They'd already cleared a spot on the 40-man when they removed David Adams from the roster over the weekend. They probably did that because they knew about Wieters' injury, although we didn't. The mysteries of Dan Duquette are many, but they often make sense eventually.
Almost solely because of that one interview, I always liked Joseph and I wondered why he was stuck at Bowie when the Orioles had a parade of scrubs in Norfolk and even as Wieters' actual backup in the majors. It almost seemed like the Orioles had some personal vendetta against him. Well, the reality is he's probably just not that good, but he kept on grinding and now he gets his chance.
The O's have thrown him right into the fire: he's the starting catcher Wednesday night, batting ninth. I'll be rooting for him, and not just because he's going to be trying to help the Orioles win. You can't help but pull for him because he's played in 639 minor league games and he's earned his shot, however temporary it might prove to be. This kind of stuff is why people love baseball. Hey, MASN, maybe you can make a commercial about him.
As for Weeks, he'll probably be back. The Orioles need a second catcher with Wieters out of the picture for catching, and he is deemed the most expendable player since they can send him out without losing him.