After not recording an RBI in 2016, catcher has become consistent offensive contributor
By Mandy Bell
BALTIMORE -- Although he made his fourth multi-RBI game of the season look easy, Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph knows all too well not to take his big hits for granted.
Joseph missed a significant portion of last season with a testicular injury, playing just 49 games. In that stint, the catcher did not knock in a single run. But as the lone bright spot in a 10-3 loss to the Cubs on Saturday night, Joseph launched his fourth home run of the season in the fifth inning and an RBI single in the ninth to raise his 2017 RBI total to 19.
"Caleb, the whole offseason, people are talking about the whole RBI thing, how he got hurt, whatever, it takes a pretty [strong] constitution to go, 'Yeah, OK, that's true,'" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He talked about it, made fun of whatever, but believe me, down deep, he wasn't happy about it."
In his first six games of the 2017 season, Joseph had still not picked up an RBI. Finally, on April 29, Joseph snapped his 64-game streak without an RBI -- dating back to Sept. 11, 2015 -- with a two-RBI night against the Royals at Camden Yards.
"He knew we liked him. We knew he was capable of better, especially the people in the clubhouse and the coaching staff," Showalter said. "You know, he repaid that trust. He knew he was going to get that opportunity. But, every time these guys go out there, that's the difference, they want to be in that situation. Caleb wanted to be in that situation to come back and perform better."
Since snapping the streak, Joseph has continued to be one of the Orioles' bright spots on offense for a team that has gone 27-40 since May 1, hitting .313 with 17 RBIs, three home runs, nine doubles and a triple in 45 games over that span. The catcher has the third-best batting average on the team after raising his it to .293 on Saturday, behind just Jonathan Schoop (.296) and Trey Mancini (.307).
"Well, a lot of that has to do with confidence," Joseph said. "When you get a little confidence in any sport, probably in any position, you can go out and perform better. When you feel good and feel confident, your swing might not be the best, but when you get results it's easy to continue to kind of snowball in the right direction. But, I've been working hard with Cooley [hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh] and [assistant hitting coach] Howie [Clark]. I worked on a lot of stuff last year, too, and getting a little bit more at-bats to really put that into practice, that's helped a lot as well. That never hurts."
Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.