If you heard the crack of a wooden bat at Lipscomb this winter, there’s a good chance it came from former Bisons star Caleb Joseph.

That’s because the current Baltimore Orioles catcher spent four days a week working out on campus this offseason. Joseph is set to report to the Orioles on Tuesday for the start of spring training in Sarasota, Florida.

“I’m usually up in McQuiddy (Gym) because it’s too cold outside,” Joseph said. “Everything I need is here, so I’m usually the guy carrying a wood bat and a bag of balls around, trying to not create too much distraction.”

2017 served as a bounce-back year for Joseph, who did not register a single RBI in an injury-plagued 2016 campaign. Last season, the Franklin native hit .256 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 89 games played.

“When you have a historically bad season, there’s only way to go, and that’s up,” Joseph said. “I came back (to Lipscomb) and worked my tail off. I spent a lot of time in the McQuiddy cages trying to iron some things out. That work translated, and hopefully I can repeat that this season.”

Now in his fifth year with the Orioles, the seasoned veteran is looking to lead his team back to the playoffs after winning the AL East title in 2014.

“If the team does well, normally your personal stats turn out (okay),” Joseph said. “I’d love to help the team try to win another AL East title. That was an unbelievable feeling and hopefully (this) year is our year.”

Joseph, who played for the Bisons from 2006-08, recently spoke at Lipscomb’s First Pitch Dinner, the baseball program’s annual fundraiser. ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney was featured as the keynote speaker.

When I heard we were going to have a dinner with Buster as the keynote guy, I wanted to make sure I was there,” Joseph said. “He’s a great reporter, and he’s always fair. It was a great night and we raised a lot of money for the ball club.

Joseph’s offseason was highlighted by the birth of his second child, Nora. Joseph and his wife, Brooke, also have a three-year-old boy named Walker, making for a busy household.

“It’s crazy because you forget how small they are,” Joseph said. “We’re excited and my wife has been an absolute champion. Those are the things that really matter. Baseball is going to come and go, but family is forever.”

Barring a late addition to the Orioles roster, Joseph is expected to be the team’s starting catcher when the season opens on March 29. Lipscomb fans willing to make a short road trip can see Joseph in Atlanta from June 22-24, when the Orioles square off with the Braves for a three-game series.

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