FORT MYERS, Fla. - Spring training statistics can be the great fooler, as so many managers have warned in the past, but Chance Sisco is serious about breaking camp with the Orioles - and the seams on a few baseballs.
Sisco has belted a pair of two-run homers today in two at-bats against Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez and reliever Tyler Thornburg, and he slapped an RBI single to left field off Colten Brewer in the fifth to increase the Orioles’ lead to 7-4.
The RBI total has risen to eight, including Sisco’s three-run shot on his first swing in Saturday’s exhibition opener. The kid is on a home run binge, driving the ball this afternoon to center and right-center.
The RBI single in the fifth after Richie Martin’s tie-breaking, two-run double made Sisco 4-for-6 with a walk in three games.
Sisco is the designated hitter today at jetBlue Park and he’s living up to the role.
Martin has also singled, walked and stole third base today, and he’s scored three runs.
Gabriel Ynoa made his first bid for a spot in the back end of the rotation by allowing one run over two innings. It came on a home run from leadoff hitter Jackie Bradley Jr. on a 0-2 pitch, the ball soaring over the center field fence and almost taking down the batter’s eye.
Eduardo Núñez reached on an infield hit with one out, but Ynoa struck out Xander Bogaerts and retired Sandy León on a dribbler in front of the mound. Bobby Dalbec also reached on an infield hit to lead off the second inning, but Ynoa got two ground balls and struck out Marino Campana.
Ynoa threw 34 pitches, 24 for strikes. He didn’t pitch in the majors last season due to multiple injuries and a slow recovery process, came off the 40-man roster and signed a minor league deal.
The proverbial clean slate also can benefit him. A new manager and front office deciding the fate of a pitcher who sustained injuries to his tibia and shoulder last summer and fell out of favor with the team.
“This is a very important year for me,” he said via interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “The new staff, they want to meet me, they want to see me out there, and I want to show them what I can do and that I can help this team.
“I feel 100 percent healthy. I’m ready to compete and battle, thanks to God.”
Ynoa could crack the rotation, though he entered camp as a long shot, fill a long relief role or head to Triple-A Norfolk if the Orioles keep him.
“My wish is to help the team, whether as a starter or a reliever,” he said. “That’s really up to the team to decide, but my wish is to really help the team, show them that I can help them.”
Evan Phillips worked the third inning and struck out Bradley and Mookie Betts before Núñez singled and Bogaerts flied to right. Bo Schultz replaced him in the fourth and allowed back-to-back singles and Michael Chavis’ big-boy home run to left field to tie the game 4-4.
Left-hander Paul Fry issued back-to-back walks with one out in the fifth, but the Orioles turned a double play to protect their 7-4 lead.
Update: O’s win 7-6. Dillon Tate gave up two runs with two outs in the ninth inning following a scoreless eighth.