From afar, it seems Orioles top prospect Chance Sisco is having a slower adjustment to Triple-A than he has at any other level in the minors. But after catching up with minor league catching coordinator Don Werner on Saturday, manager Buck Showalter said he doesn't have any concerns.
"He likes the way he's receiving and catching the ball, and Donnie said the hitting part of it, regardless of what he's hitting now, that's not going to be an issue," Showalter said. "They said his footwork has gotten a little off throwing, and they think they've made some adjustments in that."
While Sisco's defense has been constantly evolving since the team selected him in the second round of the 2013 draft, his bat hasn't wavered much. Before this year, he'd never ended a season batting lower than .297, and his all-fields approach and feel for hitting made him an intriguing prospect, provided his defense allowed him to stay at catcher.
But this year, he entered Saturday batting .245 with over a strikeout per game (44 in 41 games) and a .680 OPS. He was the Orioles' representative in last year's All-Star Futures Game and was No. 1 on several publications' organizational top prospect lists this offseason.
"He's a guy who -- keep in mind, this guy hadn't caught that much until he got to pro ball," Showalter said. "He's 22 in Triple-A, and I challenge you to find a 22-year-old catcher in Triple-A for somebody. It's a big jump for him, but I think when the body of work is done, I think you're going to like it."
Delayed decisions: June 1 contract opt-outs for veteran minor leaguers Edwin Jackson and Pedro Álvarez have passed, but the Orioles have pushed those back to give themselves more time to decide whether to add either to their 25-man roster.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette updated their situations Saturday, but said it wouldn't be a regular occurrence as the club works toward a resolution.
"I'm not going to address it every day because it's really not considerate to the rest of the players and the clubs, Norfolk and here," Duquette said. "But they did give us a couple more days to see if we could create a spot."
For Jackson, who has come along well as a reliever for Triple-A Norfolk, that opt-out has been pushed to Monday, according to an industry source.
From 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Jackson will have 24 hours to exercise his opt-out, and if he does, the Orioles will have 48 hours from then to add him to the 25-man major league roster before having to release him from his contract, making him a free agent able to sign with any other club.
He entered Saturday with a 3.26 ERA over 19 1/3 innings with the Tides this year, mostly out of the bullpen.
As for Álvarez, who hit 22 home runs for the Orioles last year and went into Saturday with 12 at Norfolk this year, Duquette said "we had an agreement where he gave us a few more days to see if we could create a spot for him on the big league roster."
"In return for a couple more days, we gave him the option to stay with us or if he found a job, to take a job with another major league club," Duquette said.
Castillo coming around: Catcher Welington Castillo played catch Saturday to begin his return from an injury suffered when a deflected pitch hit him in the groin area Tuesday.
"I was talking to him yesterday in the dugout," Showalter said. "He was still sore. [Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells] was telling me last night before he left that if he felt OK today, they were going to start the progression. I'm hoping that the last day or two of the 10 days [on the disabled list] that he's a go, and we have to talk about whether he wants to go catch some or not."
Castillo is eligible to return June 10 in New York.
Around the horn: Sunday will be the final game of longtime Orioles radio broadcaster Fred Manfra's career. He retired from full-time broadcasting after last season, and returned for a brief schedule this season. ... Showalter said Alec Asher will remain in the rotation and will start Thursday in the makeup game at the Washington Nationals. … Rookie Trey Mancini started at first base Saturday to give Chris Davis a day off the field. Showalter noted that even though the bulk of Mancini's work has come in the outfield, he wants the 25-year-old to remain comfortable playing first.
Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.