WASHINGTON - The Orioles roster was bound to undergo some changes with players ready to come off the disabled list, but the club got a head start by optioning rookie catcher Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk after Sunday’s game and recalling Caleb Joseph this afternoon.
“I think Chance can back up a little bit and take a breath and kind of get back to some of the things that he’s capable of,” said manager Buck Showalter. “We all know what a good player Chance has got a chance to be. I think sometimes we forget he and (Miguel) Castro, they’re 23 years old. He hasn’t caught a lot. I thought he was really catching on to calling a game up here at this level. Good opportunity.
“Caleb’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I think Chance will be back here at some point. I think it’s going to be good for him. I had a long talk with him. I think he understood.”
The Orioles need Sisco to relax and focus on his throwing. He won’t be taking a break. The idea is to play him regularly with Norfolk.
“That’s it,” Showalter said. “We were trying to give him as much as we felt like he could take. He was catching probably, what, about half the games? Just the chance to get out there on a consistent basis.
“I know he’s been frustrated offensively a lot. He always seems to find a way to sneak a hit in there. He’s going be a good offensive guy. But I think a lot of things he’s learned up here, see that he’ll take into play. We had a good, long talk.”
Joseph is behind the plate tonight while younger brother Corban is on the bench. They’re teammates in the majors for the first time.
“I think about their mom and dad. That’s pretty cool,” Showalter said. “They’re big brother, little brother. There’s been a lot of moments in their life where they’re hoping they both could play at a high level and to be playing at the highest level and on the same team. And both of them have earned it. It’s nothing like we’re keeping them here so they can have a moment together. They’ve earned it.”
A veteran came off the roster today when the Orioles designated Pedro Álvarez for assignment. He was batting .180/.283/.414 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 45 games, had only one hit with 10 strikeouts in his last 18 at-bats over nine games and was 6-for-52 since April.
With no position on the field, and no designated hitter in National League ballparks, Álvarez became more expendable.
“Pete’s a good man,” Showalter said. “He’s a good teammate and you know with the potential of some other people returning ... (Andrew) Cashner’s going to return tomorrow, Beck (Tim Beckham) is around the corner, (Colby) Rasmus is close, there’s some changes we’re going to have to make in the roster.
“He’s always one of those guys you feel like he could part the water and you could run him out there every day, but with Mark (Trumbo), and Chris (Davis) being back with us here shortly, there just weren’t going be the at-bats for him. We’re hoping that he clears. He’s got a prior agreement and we’re hoping that he clears and he’s playing in Norfolk here shortly.
“He’s got an opportunity to go there or not go. It’s still his decision. There’s a lot of conversation stuff we had long before we signed in case this moment came.”
Infielder Steve Wilkerson had his contract selected from Norfolk and he takes Álvarez’s roster spot. He can play just about every position and got some work behind the plate while at extended spring training.
“When he was down in Sarasota, we talked to them about creating that guy,” Showalter said. “He’s played a lot of games (in Sarasota) since the season started, just not with paying customers. He’s played first, second, short, third, left, right, he’s caught some. He took the time and used it very wisely. He’s in as good of shape as he’s been. He was off to a great start down there.
“I was talking to Caleb about him today and he was really impressed by him. Caleb is a very astute watcher. He gave me some verification, a lot of things I thought. Wilkerson, I’m going to be surprised if he’s not a contributor for us because of his versatility. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a couple of National League series.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had six guys on the bench in the National League That’ll change tomorrow with Cashner, I’m sure.”
Davis isn’t in the lineup tonight and won’t start Wednesday. He may not resurface in the Nationals series. It’s pretty open-ended.
“It’s getting close,” Showalter said. “I know he didn’t have an off-day yesterday. Trust me. He worked on a lot of things. He worked at Camden Yards.
“It has nothing to do with who’s pitching. Nothing at all. When Chris and we all think that it’s time and he feels like he’s ready, it doesn’t matter who’s pitching, whether it’s a left-hander or a right-hander. When they and we decide that, then he’ll be in there regardless of who’s pitching. It has nothing to do with who’s pitching.”
Richard Bleier’s lat surgery was deemed a success. Now comes the long and tedious rehab.
“Prospects look good,” Showalter said. “They reattached the lat and I’m hoping that he’s throwing the baseball in spring training next year. It’s going to be a long road back. The history of those, it’s going to take a while. The good news is Richard has the approach to pitching that I think he’ll be as good as ever. He’s got a great support group around him.
“I know he’s going back to Fort Lauderdale. It was outpatient surgery, but it was pretty involved. But they found everything they thought they would. They basically had to kind of unfurl the muscle and reattach it, so it was a complete tear there or away from the connective area. That’s in layman’s terms what happened.”
Update: David Hess retired the first five batters before Trea Turner homered to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Update II: Jace Peterson’s two-run homer gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead in the third. He’s homered twice and driven in six runs over the past two games.
Update IV: Hess has surrendered three runs in the fifth after loading the bases with no outs to cut the lead to 5-4. Adam Eaton had a two-run single on a ground ball that scooted under Machado’s glove and Anthony Rendon added a sacrifice fly after the Nats reloaded the bases.
Update V: Bryce Harper’s bloop double with two outs in the fifth tied the game 5-5 and Miguel Castro has replaced Hess.
Update VI: The Orioles loaded the bases with one out in the sixth against reliever Justin Miller and pinch-hitter Corban Joseph bounced into a force to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead.
Update VII: Tanner Scott was charged with three runs and Mike Wright Jr. one in the seventh inning, as the Nats took a 9-6 lead. Rendon had a two-run double off Scott. Wright let an inherited runner score and one of his own.