Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias spent Sunday chipping away at the team’s roster in preparation for Opening Day, but it wasn’t until he optioned top catching prospect Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk that the situation behind the plate came into clear focus.

That move was packaged with the reassignment of journeymen catchers Andrew Susac and Carlos Pérez minor league camp and the options of left-handed reliever Tanner Scott and left-hander Josh Rogers to the Triple-A roster. The Orioles also optioned reliever Evan Phillips to Norfolk and reassigned utilityman Jace Peterson earlier in the day, so there are 29 players left in major league camp.


So, the weekend now makes sense. The Orioles claimed long-time Washington Nationals catching prospect Pedro Severino off waivers Saturday, which seemed to further complicate the catching situation and led to speculation that the team might try to pass him back through waivers to get him to the minor leagues.

Manager Brandon Hyde announces that designated hitter Mark Trumbo will open the season on the injured list, creating flexibility at the DH spot.

Either that or the team was planning to option another young player who has had a terrific spring and use veteran Jose Sucre and Severino as the Opening Day catching duo.

Sisco topped off his Grapefruit League season with a 3-for-3 performance Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and raised his batting average to .382 and OPS to 1.298. He spent a chunk of the early exhibition season ranked among the top five hitters in the major leagues in home runs and RBIs.

That got him optioned out to join promising outfielders Austin Hays, DJ Stewart, Yusniel Diaz and Anthony Santander in the minors along and Phillips, who did not give up a run all spring.

It also left the Orioles with Sucre and Severino as the only healthy catchers left in big league camp, since Austin Wynns is still rehabilitating an oblique strain and will have to start the season on the injured list.

Sucre was a very late arrival in camp because of visa problems in his native Venezuela and Severino just arrived Sunday morning, but the Orioles front office obviously was convinced that Sisco was not really ready to be the full-time catcher at the major league level.

Of course, all this assumes that the Orioles won’t be picking over the waiver wire again over the next three days, since they do not have to set their 25-man roster until Thursday.

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