Orioles option Sisco, Yacabonis illness jeopardizes Sunday start

The Orioles are swapping out catchers again tonight by returning rookie Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk. They made the announcement following a 5-4 loss to the Rangers at Camden Yards.

The corresponding move will become official on Saturday with rookie Austin Wynns recalled from Norfolk.

Sisco also was sent down on June 17, and returned 11 days later. He’s batting .195/.306./.289 with eight doubles, two home runs and 16 RBIs in 58 games.

Since rejoining the Orioles, Sisco has collected only three hits in 30 at-bats.

Wynns appeared in 10 games with the Orioles earlier this season and went 5-for-26 with his first major league home run and 10 strikeouts. He threw out three of five runners attempting to steal.

The first time that the Orioles optioned Sisco, they wanted him to relax and concentrate on his throwing. The same instructions likely will accompany his return to Norfolk.

Yacabonis-Throwing-White-Sidebar.jpgMeanwhile, Jimmy Yacabonis might not be able to make Sunday’s start to close out the first half. He’s ill, and plans to fly him into Baltimore on Saturday have been put on hold.

Yacabonis is being tested for strep throat, and his inability to start this weekend would leave the Orioles scrambling for a replacement.

“We’re waiting to get our arms around whether he’s going to be available for Sunday or not,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He would not have pitched tonight.”

Showalter has mentioned Chris Tillman as a possibility for Sunday. Tillman is supposed to start the same day at Norfolk while nearing the end of his rehab assignment.

Miguel Castro and Mike Wright Jr. have been cast previously as options out of the bullpen.

Left-hander Tanner Scott replaced Alex Cobb tonight with one out in the seventh inning, inheriting a runner, and served up a three-run homer to pinch-hitter Ryan Rua in a 5-4 loss to the Rangers. Scott later allowed an RBI double to Nomar Mazara.

“He got a count in his favor and just couldn’t execute the last pitch,” Showalter said. “There were a lot more things that went into the game than that, but that was your question. He got ahead there quickly and just couldn’t execute a pitch. You see all the good things that he can potentially can do, and tonight he struggled.”

Scott has dominated at various points in the season with his upper-90s fastball and a slider that’s becoming a plus pitch, but he’s also hit some rough patches along the way, and tonight’s game increased his ERA to 6.84.

“Well, there’s a lot of growing pains,” Showalter said. “He’s a young man with not a whole lot of experience, with a really good arm. His slider’s there sometimes. Just the consistency that all young players look for. You’ve seen it. We’ve all seen how good he can be at times. Tonight, the execution wasn’t there.

“There’s some learning curves and pain along the way. Even a guy like Paul Fry, they were both going to pitch tonight at some point. Some nights, he’s been as good as you want to see and you see what he could potentially be. These guys get these opportunities and, hopefully, they can take advantage of them.

“It’s always going to be a learning experience at 23 years old, coming up here and facing the best hitters in the world. A lot of times it’s about minimizing damage, too.”

Cobb fell to 2-12 while lowering his ERA to 6.41. He was charged with two runs in 6 1/3 innings and still doesn’t have a win at home.

“Good, real good,” Showalter said. “Thought he was solid. I don’t think he felt real comfortable early on, but that’s about, I think, three or four outings now where he’s had a good feel and a good, solid split, which you’re going to need when you see that many left-handed hitters. But I was glad to see him get a little better return than ...

“I think some of his outings haven’t been indicative of how well he pitched when you look at the statistical part of it. But tonight he pitched well. He matched ... obviously it was going to be a touch matchup with (Cole) Hamels. You could tell he was carrying good stuff early. But Alex gave us a really good chance to win. That was a really good step for him.”

The split is the key pitch for Cobb, and limited work in the spring had him struggling to regain the feel and command.

‘It’s going to be key for me to get completely comfortable with that,” he said. “The only way to do that is to throw it. I’m getting to the point now where I guess I’m seeing enough action on it that I feel comfortable, that it’s not going to hurt me every time I throw it. I just need to throw it more and more and more and completely get that feel back, and it’ll open up a lot more for me.”

Caleb Joseph’s three-run double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh breathed new life into the Orioles, but they squandered chances in the last two innings.

“It looked like we were going to let him off the hook there. Caleb stayed out there and didn’t try to do to much and ended up with a lot. That got us back in there. It’s been a challenge to get that last hit and get us over the hump.”

“He’s been pretty solid since he got back,” Showalter said. “He’s been catching real well, not that he wasn’t, necessarily, before. As tough as it was for him to go down there for a while, I think it was good for him. I know what he’s capable of doing. He had some really good at-bats when he came back. It just seems like he’s back in that mode. He’s come a long way.

“It’s so tough in the major leagues to carry any position that is struggling offensively. I don’t care how good you are defensively. Caleb is aware of that. It’s good to see him making some contributions.”

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