Corban Joseph was still in the minor leagues at 30. A fourth-round draft pick by the Yankees in 2008, he’d played just 16 major league games in the past 11 seasons.
After hitting .371 in 97 games for Triple-A Las vegas this year, the Oakland Athletics called him up on Wednesday.
The move to bring up Joseph is twofold, rewarding the veteran minor leaguer for a standout season, while also giving the A’s another left-handed bat at second base, a position that has lacked consistent production – Jurickson Profar and Chad Pinder have combined to hit .225 from the spot.
“Our organization is not afraid to promote guys that are doing well,” said manager Bob Melvin.
To make room for Joseph, Oakland designated catcher Beau Taylor for assignment. Taylor had played well behind the plate in nine games with the A’s and was well-liked in the clubhouse.
“Hopefully he clears [waivers],” Melvin said. “I’ve got my fingers crossed on that one.”
Joseph – who made short major league stints with the Yankees in 2013 and Orioles in 2018 – earned his promotion by posting career highs in batting average, on-base percentage (.421) and slugging percentage (.585), albeit for the Las Vegas Aviators in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
He said that a friend in Las Vegas was giving him a hard time after he was informed that he would be joining the big league club in San Francisco.
“I was 0-for-2,” Joseph said. “We always joke around about how tough the PCL league is. It’s a three-hit minimum and if you don’t get those three hits, you’re not going to play the next day.”
Indeed Joseph won’t play for the Aviators on Wednesday because he will be starting at second base for Oakland.
“It’s big, especially being 30 years old,” Joseph said. “I’ve gone up and down throughout my career. Just keep grinding through these situations. Getting an opportunity as a 30-year-old is huge.”
Despite now competing at a much higher level, Joseph won’t change the approach – “working the count and battling” – that earned him his A’s debut.
“It’s the same mindset for me,” he said. “In Vegas, we’re making a push for the playoffs too. So, every game counts.”
The middle infielder also said he thinks his brother’s experience in the majors – Caleb Joseph plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks – will ease his transition.
“It’s such a blessing,” Joseph said, “because we’ve done something that a lot of people haven’t done, to be in the same family. We always talk about our experiences.”
Joseph – or “CoJo” as he goes by with teammates – will have his wife Emery in attendance for his debut at Oracle Park.
Marco Estrada – recovering from a lumbar strain – and Daniel Mengden will pitch for Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday. The two starters will split the game with each taking roughly four innings apiece.
Sean Manaea will pitch for the Aviators on either Sunday or Monday and will get up to about 100 pitches. The Oakland ace is coming off an excellent start on Tuesday and is close to a major league return from a shoulder surgery that has sidelined him for the entirety of the 2019 season.