Catcher Caleb Joseph was in the clubhouse Sunday, chatting with players and media and laughing off jokes about the foul tip he suffered on Memorial Day that led to testicular surgery on Monday night.
Joseph hadn’t been in the clubhouse since the surgery, and said he wasn’t returning until he could walk normally – so the jokes would at least be tempered somewhat. He said he doesn’t think it’s possible for him to hear a new pun about his situation.
He, of course, also poked fun at himself, saying weird situations are always funnier when they happen to him because he’s considered the club’s class clown. He brought up the time that he was chasing a foul ball and slipped on the matted on-deck circle at Camden Yards and careened toward the camera well.
In his pre-game conference, Orioles manager Buck Showalter talked about how good it was to have Joseph back with the team and that, chuckles aside, everyone knows how scary the situation was and commiserated with Joseph.
“We had some show and tell down there somewhere, I did not participate,” Showalter said, then added, “It’s kind of hard to talk about this, it’s very serious.”
Among those who reached out to Joseph was former major leaguer John Kruk, who survived testicular cancer. Kruk is a former colleague of Showalter’s at ESPN and wanted to let Joseph know about some of the things he had to deal with after testicular surgery.
Now, the question is: When can Joseph can return to playing? And there are no set answers on that, partially because there are no similar precedents for catchers.
“I don’t know. Don’t have a whole lot to base it on. Could be sooner than later, could be later than sooner, because there’s not a whole lot of (information),” Showalter said. “Everybody’s different. I think Caleb will get back as fast as (he’s) capable.”
There’s a recuperation period he must go through – and then there’s the human nature aspect of it: Joseph may have to mentally ease his way back to catching pitches and dealing with foul tips.
“It’s kind of like when somebody gets hit in the head with a pitch,” Showalter said. “That first time up there you’ve got to kind of get back on the horse. And I’ve got a feeling the first time we’ll probably go through some BPs and do some stuff with it. But I don’t think that’s imminent.”
Hardy throws in Sarasota
Showalter said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who has been on the DL with a fractured foot since May 3, threw from 90 feet Saturday on the field at the Orioles’ minor league complex in Florida.
“That was good to see, that he was out on the field throwing,” Showalter said. “That takes some pressure. Creates a little pressure on the foot to do that.”
Hardy still has not done other baseball activities, as far as Showalter knows, but he seems to be progressing without incident. There still is no timetable on Hardy’s return.
No decision on Monday’s starter yet
Showalter said he wouldn’t announce Monday’s starter until after Sunday’s game to make sure the potential candidates aren’t needed in relief.
The most obvious possibility is Mike Wright, who was supposed to start Monday before he was demoted to the minors following Wednesday’s game. He then was brought back when Darren O’Day went on the DL.