The first and only time Steve Baron got the call to play in the Major Leagues was back in September of 2015, when he appeared in four games with Seattle. Now, almost three years later, the catcher is finally back in the show.
“It feels better,” smiled Baron. “You always hear, getting to the big leagues is tough but getting back there is even more difficult. So to have the chance, just the opportunity for me, is really special.”
The 27-year old Baron had his contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals today and was added to their active roster as catcher Carson Kelly was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain.
In 17 games at Memphis (AAA) this season, Baron is hitting .153 (9-59). But the Cardinals aren’t focusing on what he can provide at the plate as much as what he can do with his glove.
“Just a guy that’s been here a little while and knows what he’s doing behind the plate–catches and throws well,” said Mike Matheny. “Talked with Stubby Clapp, he really managed the game well, did everything he needed to behind the plate. Offensively, he was still kind of looking for some of his timing to get right. But he’s a guy who comes about and kind of doing his business the right way. That’s what we need.”
Still seeking his first big league hit, Baron did record an assist during his 29.0 innings as catcher with Seattle. Signed by St. Louis as a free agent this past December, Steve has caught over 5200 innings in the minors since 2009.
“Just jump in,” said Matheny. “He’s already been through our meetings. He’s already watched a little bit of film, didn’t get here on time to watch a lot but stand up here as he’s on the bench today and call the game. Pitch by pitch, know exactly what’s going on and the why.”
Baron has thrown out 31% (22-72) base stealers with four passed balls in 78 games over the last two seasons.
“Start talking with guys, that’s your best offense,” added Matheny. “Be proactive in making sure the guys are telling you what they want to do, what they’ve been doing that’s been successful. But also, spend a lot of time with the pitching coach, bullpen coaches, catching coach, in the video room and you should get all the information you need.”
With the Cardinals in Spring Training, Baron had his fair share of reps mixed in alongside Yadier Molina, Kelly, and Francisco Pena. And he didn’t get caught up about those three being ahead of him while he played at Memphis.
“Do what you need to do, do what you do well, make sure you do it consistently every day, go about your business the right way, treat people the right way–those are the things I focus on everyday,” said Baron. “I think that’s what helps me get through each day, because it is a grind. Baseball is a grind and every year it has been for me.”