MILWAUKEE -- The Orioles optioned Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot for Chris Davis' return from the paternity list on Tuesday, leaving Caleb Joseph as the club's backup catcher.
The move came as a surprise, with Joseph a right-handed hitter along with starter Nick Hundley, whom the club traded for on Saturday.
"There's not a good or bad decision there," manager Buck Showalter said of the move, which the organization debated on all afternoon. "We want Stevie to catch every day right now, kind of get him back to where he was. He's very close to it. We just think with the dynamic, we like the dynamic of him and Matt [Wieters] and now until we got an idea of Nick a little bit, it kind of fits a little better. It's 51-49 percent."
Hundley got his second start behind the plate on Tuesday and will be the Orioles' primary catcher as they wait on Wieters, who is trying to avoid surgery in alleviating his elbow discomfort. The 28-year-old Clevenger has batted .243/.300/.378 in 24 games for the Orioles this season, while Joseph is 1-for-23, but the organization has been very clear that defense is a priority.
"I want him to kind of get back in that flow of catching every day," Showalter said of Clevenger. "And in a perfect world, Caleb would be doing that too. But if Matt comes back, if that is heading in that direction, it might change the dynamics of how we look at it."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.