Ah, the irascibility of youth. Kids are so cute at this age.
Phillies catching prospect Tommy Joseph, acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the Hunter Pence trade last July, is the youngest Phillies player in camp this spring. And at just 21 years old, Joseph is making quite an impression down in Clearwater.
Not only did Joseph go 3 for 4 with two singles against one of the best pitchers in the National League yesterday, Stephen Strasburg, he also did something during the Phillies’ 6-3 win over the Nationals that would scare even the most hardened Major League veterans.
In between innings.
Of a game Roy Halladay was pitching.
Like, for real.
“You know what? That takes some stones,” Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee said, clearly envious of Joseph’s moxie and seeming indifference to living. “That’s what you’re looking for out of a catcher, some leadership. That’s pretty good right there. You have a two-time Cy Young winner with almost 200 wins and you feel confident enough that you can go up and talk to him. That’s perfect.”
For his part, Halladay also noted Joseph’s testicular fortitude, even if he did want to strangle him with a telephone wire at the time.
“He wanted to talk a lot in between innings, which really isn’t my thing,” Halladay said, laughing. “But I didn’t mind it because he was trying to get a feel for what I wanted to do. I thought he did a great job. He was very on top of things. He was aware of what was going on in the game and the situations. That’s what you want to see.”
And by “I didn’t mind it,” what Roy really meant was, “I decided not to murder him with my eyes… this time.”
Despite Joseph’s obvious death wish, the young catcher is enjoying a terrific spring, hitting .462 (6 for 13) with three extra base hits, including this mammoth home run against the Yankees a couple weeks ago.
I mean, dang. That’s a sweet swing.
Charlie let Joseph stay in the entire game on Wednesday, wanting to get a longer look at the kid.
“I left him in there, didn’t I?” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I liked the way he was playing.”
What’s not to like? Joseph has been aggressive and has shown some impressive defensive skills as well, tracking down two tough pop ups in windy conditions yesterday and throwing out a baserunner trying to steal.
Phils officials believe he still needs work calling a game, which is perhaps why he spent so much time trying to poke a bear with a stick… er… trying to talk to Halladay during yesterday’s contest against Washington.
Joseph will begin the season as the starting catcher for AAA Lehigh Valley this year, but if all goes well, it’s a lock that the Phils will bid adieu to Carlos Ruiz when his contract expires at the end of the season, and anoint Joseph the starting catcher in 2014.
That is, if Roy Halladay doesn’t kill him first.