Trying to land role on Orioles, Clevenger studying up

Trying to land role on Orioles, Clevenger studying up

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Before catcher Steve Clevenger left last season, he loaded his iPad up with hours of video of the Orioles' pitchers, a homework assignment he took with him this winter.

"It's huge," Clevenger, acquired in a July trade with the Cubs, said of the comfort factor he has this spring. "It's a big key, these guys have to respect your thoughts and your aspects on the game behind the plate and when you come back, you have some ammunition from video and going over hours of it."

Clevenger and Johnny Monell are the two candidates for the backup catcher job behind starter Matt Wieters, who manager Buck Showalter would like to rest a little more this season.

"I think him and Johnny both understand how this is going to be decided," Showalter said Saturday morning. "So far, so good. John [Russell] gave them a really stern reminder very early in camp about how this is going to go. What you hit is nice, but we don't want to lose anything defensively."

Showalter said neither guy will play any infield this spring, despite their respective background in the field. The Orioles want the emphasis to strictly be on what Clevenger and Monell bring behind the plate, a facet of the game Clevenger is working hard to improve.

"In the Minor Leagues, I've thrown really well, ever since I've been in the big leagues I haven't really thrown out that many guys," he said. "The footwork part of it has been sloppy the past couple years. It's hard when you don't play every day, but it's something you got to stay on top of. It's important as a backup catcher to stay on top of it, it's your job to be defensively sound."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.