Corban Joseph is ready for take two with the Thunder
TAMPA, Fla. – Even before he was promoted to Trenton last July, there were a lot of things we already knew about Corban Joseph.
We knew he came from a baseball family, with his brother Caleb working his way through the Baltimore system. We knew Baseball America had ranked his defense at second base the best in the Florida State League. And we knew that his smooth swing from the right side ranked as one of the system’s purest.
So when he struggled mightily over his season-ending two-month stint with the Thunder, we were left to wonder – was there something we didn’t know?
As it turned out, there was.
From the first day he arrived with the Thunder, Joseph was damaged goods. He’d hurt his right wrist on checked swing while still with Tampa, and had decided play through the pain rather than telling anybody.
“I heard a click (in the wrist). It was really bothering me, but I just played through it,” he explained after a simulated game on Tuesday at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “By the time I got Trenton, it was on and off. It would get better and then it would get worse.”
He collected a double and a triple in his first Double-A game – the opener of a doubleheader against Reading -- but things quickly went south, and he became more of a liability in the lineup than the much-needed offensive boost the team had expected.
He finished the season with a .216/.305/.647 line, with six doubles, no home runs and just 13 RBIs. Then, just before the postseason began, Joseph finally gave in to the pain he had felt for more than three months.
When the rehab work he did in Trenton wasn’t producing results, Joseph and the team decided it was time for an MRI. The test found that he had torn triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFC), and that he needed surgery to fully heal.
“Right at one certain point in my swing I’d get this annoying feeling in my wrist,” he explained. “It just got to the point where I couldn’t play anymore with it.”
After the team’s last game of the regular season, Joseph had the surgery then went home to Tennessee to begin his offseason rehab. He missed the Thunder’s playoff run, and his scheduled trip to the Arizona Fall League was scrapped.
Now, with his wrist taped for added compression, Joseph’s swing looks better and the ball is jumping off his bat in spring contests. With a clean slate, he’s ready to prove that all the hype from scouts and experts has been warranted.
Although he received a ring for his role in High-A Tampa’s FSL crown, Joseph is ready for his second shot at playoff baseball, something he sorely missed last season.
“I just want to get a ring – another ring,” he said. “I won one last year with Tampa, and I want to do the same (with Trenton.)”
Because of extremely heavy rain, not to mention tornadoes, in and around the Tampa area, yesterday’s minor league exhibition games were cancelled. The Double-A work group was scheduled to play the Pirates’ squad at home.
If the fields are playable tomorrow, the team is scheduled to square off with Toronto’s minor leaguers in Tampa.