The unexpected demotion yesterday of catcher Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk shouldn’t be viewed as a sign that the Orioles have given up on him or that he’s no longer regarded as one of the more promising young players in the organization.
Send him down, settle him down and try again.
Sisco leaves as the team leader in hit by pitches with 10, tying him for second in the majors behind the Rays’ C.J. Cron (13). He was drilled on the buttocks Friday night by the Marlins’ José Ureña in his last start with the Orioles.
It might have been retaliation for Kevin Gausman’s pitch that slammed into Miguel Rojas’ hand and forced him from the game. Some fans took it that way, judging by the reaction. Or it was just another ball that Sisco couldn’t elude.
Asked earlier in the week if this was the norm for him, Sisco smiled and said, “No. I don’t know if I have nine in my career, to be honest.
“I don’t know. It’s just a product of guys trying to work inside and missing in a better spot than missing over the plate, I guess. But sometimes it’s just kind of the way things go. It’s not a usual thing for me.
“I’m definitely not trying to get hit. Half of them I’m trying to get out of the way. Just something that’s happening.”
Former Oriole Jeremy Hellickson, now with the Nationals, delivered the most pain this season in spite of his diminished velocity.
“Probably a few weeks ago I got hit in the shin and that one got me pretty good,” Sisco said, “but other than that, I got one in the elbow, but it was a slider and a knuckleball. And a couple in some meaty areas. Not too bad.”
Yesterday’s news probably stung the most. But he’ll be back.
* Manager Buck Showalter decided to sit Danny Valencia yesterday to provide some rest, giving the veteran a heads-up in advance. A new baby and a lingering illness have challenged Valencia to stay fresh, though he continues to produce at the plate.
It proved to be a solid decision.
Replacement Jace Peterson tied his career high with four RBIs, including a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Hard to do that if planted on the bench.
Peterson ended a streak of 18 consecutive solo home runs by the Orioles.
* The Nationals are expected to start Double-A Harrisburg right-hander Jefry Rodriguez in Tuesday night’s opener against the Orioles in D.C. They’re already confirmed with left-hander Gio Gonzalez on Wednesday and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer on Thursday.
Rodriguez, 24, made one relief appearance for the Nats this year and tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings on June 3 in Atlanta. He replaced Hellickson in the first.
In his 13 starts in the minors, Rodriguez is 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 68 innings. He’s struck out 72 batters.
* I wrote yesterday that Dalton Hoiles worked out for the Orioles on Saturday. He’s the oldest son of former Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles and he made a nice impression.
“He’s impressive,” Showalter said. “He’s had a good college career.”
Hoiles, an outfielder, went undrafted despite his impressive four-year stint at Shippensburg University. He batted .337/.414/.519 with 55 doubles, five triples, 22 home runs and 152 RBIs in 207 games. He also stole 23 bases.
Shippensburg recruited him to play third base before moving him to the outfield.
I heard that he really “opened some eyes” Saturday.
* The latest off-day will bring more speculation, anticipation, demands or whatever of massive changes in the organization. Or maybe just one firing, as the Orioles carry a 20-50 record into D.C.
Nothing that I heard over the weekend suggests that imminent changes are in store.
The roster will undergo some adjustments this week, including catcher Caleb Joseph’s return on Tuesday and Cashner’s activation from the disabled list on Wednesday. Colby Rasmus’ injury rehab assignment ends Wednesday. A five-man bench might be reassembled. But that should be it.