MOOSIC, PA – Corban Joseph admits that he's never really hit from the leadoff spot in his career.…
Joseph Eager To Prove He Belongs
"It was awesome [to get called up]," he said. "I was a little bit nervous, but excited in the same sense. I got the opportunity to play, and I tried to make the best of it. All in all I think it was a good ordeal."
Technically, it wasn't Joseph's first time in New York. The Yankees placed Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list April 30, and Joseph was recalled to fill the roster spot. However, he was sent back down to Triple-A May 2.
Eleven days later, he was back with the Yankees, only this time, he was in the lineup. In the first game of the twin bill, Joseph started at first base and hit seventh in the order. Joseph went 0-2 with a walk in the Yankees' 1-0 loss.
Joseph, who has been primarily used as a leadoff hitter with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, again hit seventh for the second game. However, he showed off his leadoff hitting skills in a big way.
With the Yankees clinging to a 1-0 lead, Joseph led off the top of the 7th inning with a double in the gap for his first Major League hit and a belated Mother's Day gift for his mother. The double sparked a Yankees' attack, as they scored six runs in the inning en route to a 7-0 victory.
"It felt pretty good," Joseph said of the hit. "I was sitting on the pitch and got the pitch I was looking for. I tried to hit a little line drive and ended up hitting one in the gap."
Two batters after Joseph, catcher and former RailRiders' teammate Austin Romine doubled and drove in Joseph for his first run scored. Another former RailRider, Vidal Nuno, started the game and picked up his first big league win.
"It was exciting to be able to get the rally going," Joseph said. "There were a lot of firsts on that day, so it was cool to be able to cherish that day in more ways than one."
Joseph's start at first base with New York was only the fourth time in his professional career that he had played the position, the previous three coming this year with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He said the idea of him playing first was discussed, and it was something he was more than willing to do.
"Being on the same side as second, it's pretty much the same thing," he said. "I had to remind myself a few times to go to the bag instead of go to the ball, but I felt fairly good. I was a little nervous only playing a few games there, but I just tried to do my best.
"You know, playing first, it just kind of adds on to your arsenal of positions you can play," he continued. "It gives the team opportunities so if something happens, you can get up there [to New York]."
Despite not playing first since that day in Cleveland, Joseph is confident he can successfully play the position if he's ever asked to do so in the future.
"I think being able to play not only that position, but third base, maybe a little bit of the outfield corner positions, can get me a little more value," he said.
At the plate Joseph said seeing Major League pitching gave him a good idea of what he needs to work on to be a successful hitter at that level.
"Just being a little bit more selective and getting a taste, you get to see how the balls move a little bit more," he said. "It lets you know what kind of pitching to expect when you get up there."
Joseph has been mired in a slump at the plate since returning to Triple-A. He's just 5-for-35 (.143) with nine strikeouts in his last nine games. For the season, he ‘s hitting .244 with five home runs and 13 RBI's.
"I think everyone hits a rough patch during the season," he said. "For me, my timing's off a little bit where I'm not recognizing pitches a little bit earlier. But that's something I'm working on to get back on track."
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hitting coach Butch Wynegar said he's seen a trend of players over recent years who have come back from playing in the big leagues and try to do more instead of going about their normal routines. For Joseph, he says it's just a matter of making the necessary adjustments.
"It's just his lower half, he's getting way ahead of himself," Wynegar said. "The barrel is clipping under the ball a little bit. I stay on him, and we work on it in the cage. It's just a matter of right now, don't try to do much, just stay back, keep the hands back, see the ball first and then put a short quick swing on the ball.
"Sometimes, you have some advantages of hitting in the big leagues," he continued. "In big league stadiums you see the ball a lot better, pitchers are around the plate a lot more consistently. Time will tell, but he's a big league hitter, there's no doubt about it."
Joseph said he hasn't received any indications as to when he'll get called back up, but it doesn't matter to him. He's going to continue to stick to the basics and try to get better every day.
"I'm still working on my defense. I feel like I can hit, I just have to continue to prove it," he said. "Anything can happen throughout the season. You're just hoping to get back up there as soon as possible."
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