Wynns optioned and wrapping up a 5-4 loss

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles made a bold statement about their backup catching situation today by optioning Austin Wynns to Triple-A Norfolk.

Sisco-Catches-Drill-Sidebar.jpgThe remaining candidates are down to Chance Sisco and Andrew Susac.

Wynns batted .222/.391/.556 (4-for-18) with two home runs, three RBIs, five walks and seven strikeouts. His work behind the plate earned him high marks, but couldn’t prevent him from heading to minor league camp.

“The way Austin is, he’s just pushing all the time,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He’s always, you know what you’re getting out of him, effort. It’s one of those things now where he needs to take a deep breath and get ready to start the season in Norfolk.

“He needs to get some consistent at-bats and start catching and relax a little bit. I think he felt coming in here that’s (Norfolk) was probably where he was going to go, but you start seeing the way spring training goes, you never know. There’s some things that he’s done that aren’t characteristic of how good he can be and I think he just needs to get down there and take a breath. Kind of like Donnie (Hart) in a lot of ways.”

Hart was optioned to Norfolk before the game. Wynn’s removal from the camp roster reduces the number to 40 players.

“Donnie just needs to ... he’s got a couple of guys ahead of him right now, and Donnie, I think he’s going to work his way back into it,” Showalter said.

“I think Donnie just needs to get back to kind of like he was when he first got here. Just be a little more aggressive and trust his stuff and be a little more ... He’s got three pitches that he can get you out with, and are all the right pitch. We were telling him today, it’s just the conviction you throw them at.

“He second-guesses himself. At the Mets, he throws a 2-1 fastball, and he said about halfway through the delivery ... These are things that, it’s just some indecision and I think he’ll take a deep breath and just kind of trust himself a little more. But he’s capable of helping us. I expect him to pitch well and get back on the map.”

Dylan Bundy threw 96 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and was charged with five runs (four earned) and five hits. He walked one batter, struck out six, threw a wild pitch and hit two batters. Travis d’Arnaud led off the second with a home run.

“He was a little up,” Showalter said. “Thought there were a lot of pitches that could have been called strikes, too, turn some counts around. But didn’t quite have the command like he’s had so far in the spring. He was due for not being ...

“He’s got a couple more times out, so we’ll see. Was good. Thought he was OK. Got his pitch count where he needed to in the low 90s and didn’t implode. Pitched his way through some situations, kept us engaged in the game. We had a chance at the end.”

Chris Davis is expected to get more at-bats Monday at the minor league complex after going 1-for-3 today with an RBI single and strikeout.

“He said he felt good,” Showalter said. “We’ll see how he feels in the morning. If he feels like he did at the end of the game, he’ll go over and take some at-bats. I know Caleb (Joseph) is going over there, maybe one other.”

Cedric Mullins singled twice and stole two bases. He reached on a bunt for the second consecutive day.

“I think it’s his third one this spring. He’s good at that,” Showalter said.

“Kind of that late give. Reminds me a lot of those guys who used to bunt for a living and you knew they were going to bunt and you’d be right on top of them and they’d still get it down. That’s the way it used to be taught. Someone said is that a lost art? No. He works at it. It’s part of his game.”

Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer off Seth Lugo in the eighth, the ball slamming off the batter’s eye in center field.

“He ambushed a fastball early in the count,” Showalter said. “The guy was trying to go strike one on him and he didn’t let him get to the breaking ball, did he?”

Austin Hays doubled in the ninth and reached third base, and Craig Gentry walked to keep the rally alive, but Sharlon Schoop struck out and the Orioles lost to the Mets 5-4.

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