A doctor cleared Sisco to play and the club was able to avoid a roster move. Sisco is on the bench for the series opener against the Royals at Camden Yards.
How comfortable is a separate matter.
Sisco was removed from yesterday’s game against the Red Sox in the sixth inning after being struck in the groin by a foul ball from Xander Bogaerts. He’s been issued a Kevlar protective cup, like the one worn and endorsed by former Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph.
“He’s able to play, so he’s just sore,” said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. “He obviously had a tough inning. The doctor saw him after the game and then a doctor saw him again today and cleared him to play, so we got good news.”
Sisco also had his left shoulder checked after Sam Travis ran into him at the plate. Sisco stayed in the game, but the foul ball brought an excruciating level of pain and forced him to the trainers’ room.
“The shoulder stuff was fine,” Hyde said. “It was more the second shot he took.”
Hyde can sympathize as a former catcher who absorbed his share of punishment.
“Been there. Really sucks. No doubt,” he said.
“It’s an awful feeling and awful to watch somebody go through that. It’s not even funny. It’s funny after the fact, but it’s not funny at the time. It hurts like crazy and he was in so much pain that it was just awful, so for him to be OK today ...
“I was expecting the worst and just what he was like when he was out there. For him to be OK obviously is great news for us.”
Dwight Smith Jr. (left calf strain) is serving as Triple-A Norfolk’s designated hitter tonight and will play in the outfield Tuesday as part of his injury rehab assignment.
Mark Trumbo said his right knee feels good, but no decision has been made on the start date of a rehab assignment.
John Means has registered an 8.34 ERA and 1.721 WHIP in five starts since the All-Star break, but the Orioles are convinced that he simply needs to make a mechanical adjustment to become aligned again.
Means has been working with pitching coach Doug Brocail between starts.
“Obviously, he hasn’t pitched as well the second half as he did the first half,” Hyde said. “Talking with Broc and John, they feel like they cleaned up some mechanical stuff that they feel like he was doing the first half that’s kind of gotten away from him his last few starts. Had a really good side session between his last start and today and looking forward to hopefully getting back on track tonight.”
According to STATS, the Orioles were winless on a road trip of seven or more games for only the third time in club history and the first since April 1982. They also went 0-7 in May 1954.
They had three 0-6 trips last season.
The Orioles aren’t thinking about the first-overall draft pick, which would go the Tigers if the season ended today. Wins matter to them.
“It’s obviously been a really tough year,” Hyde said. “We knew that going in. But we’re not going to stop fighting and competing and I think if you ask any player in there, they couldn’t care less about the No. 1 draft choice. It’s about trying to win every single night. Our coaching staff feels the same way, that we are preparing the same way and we are going to coach and we’re going to teach and we’re going to try to win every single night.
“Obviously, it’s been a tough couple of weeks and played some really good clubs that are postseason bound, so we’ve taken our lumps. There’s no doubt about it. But there’s going to be no quit in this group and our guys are going to continue to scratch and claw and try to win as many games as we possibly can.”
What would be some telltale signs that winning no longer was a priority inside the clubhouse?
“Lack of effort,” Hyde said. “Not caring. I think you can see by how guys are preparing or how they’re getting down the line. If their at-bats are competitive or non-competitive. Same thing with the pitchers on the mound.
“I don’t think we’re even close to that. Our guys were mad yesterday and disappointed and cared and I think once that goes away, that’s when you see it. But you’re not going to see that in this group.”
Update: DJ Stewart’s RBI double in the second inning gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
Update II: Means took a no-hit bid into the sixth and allowed three runs, two of them earned, without recording an out.
Jonathan Villar led off the bottom half with a home run off reliever Jake Newberry to cut the lead to 3-2.
Update III: Nicky Lopez and Nick Dini hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh for a 5-2 lead.
Update IV: Stewart’s RBI single in the seventh reduced the lead to 5-3, but the Orioles left the bases loaded.