Extra time in a chest protector and shin guards became the norm.
When those were finally tossed aside, an extended stay in the video room followed.
They were musts in 2010 for the then-18-year-old Tommy Joseph, who had spent all of one year as a catcher in high school before the San Francisco Giants took him in the second round (55th overall) of the 2009 amateur baseball draft.
No doubt Joseph, acquired by Philadelphia from San Francisco at the trade deadline last July, needed the additional work. He had never even called a pitch in his senior year of high school.
"He was raw," said former big league reliever Steve Kline, who coached Joseph in Augusta, Ga. "But he's a very teachable kid. That's the best thing about him. He's a sponge and can retain information and pick up on anything you teach him real quick."
Joseph has proven that.
Three years later, the 21-year-old finds himself as the organization's No. 3 ranked prospect by Baseball America and could be the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Opening Day catcher.
Yes, he has that much promise.
"He's a special player," Kline said Thursday. "I guarantee he will have a long career in the big leagues if he stays healthy. He's got a great attitude, and he's a big strong, strapping kid."
Joseph got the Giants' attention with his bat — he hit .491 with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs in 37 games as a senior in high school — and so far, he's done well at the plate in Single-A and Double-A ball. In 352 minor league games from 2010-12, Joseph hit .256 with 79 doubles, 49 home runs and 211 RBIs. Twenty-eight of those games were with Reading, where he batted .250 (25-for-100) with eight doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs.
Joseph making a statement as Phillies catching prospect
Allentown Morning Call | Jan 20