Catcher Chance Sisco, the consensus top prospect in the Orioles minor league system, will be called up Friday in the first wave of additions during roster expansion, according to an industry source.
Sisco, 22, will travel north from Triple-A Norfolk with designated hitter Pedro Álvarez, outfielder Joey Rickard and reliever Jimmy Yacabonis.
A second-round draft pick in 2013, Sisco batted .267 with a .736 OPS and 30 extra-base hits for the Tides. The team saw improvements in his defense under the tutelage of bench coach John Russell this year in spring training, though his fielding still lags far behind his advanced bat.
The Orioles are getting a jump on adding Sisco to the 40-man roster now, as he requires protection from this December's Rule 5 draft anyway.
Álvarez, who hit 22 home runs with an .826 OPS for the Orioles a season ago, entered Thursday batting .239 with a .734 OPS and 26 home runs for the Tides this year. He no longer plays the outfield, as he signed a minor league contract during spring training to do, but will provide a dangerous left-handed bench bat against right-handed pitching for the heavily right-handed Orioles.
Rickard was batting .254 with a .656 OPS while playing elite defense for the Orioles before he was sent down to make room for Rule 5 outfielder Anthony Santander earlier this month. Santander has played just three games.
Yacabonis has a 6.75 ERA in four major league appearances this year, though he's been outstanding for Triple-A Norfolk, posting a 1.32 ERA in 41 games.
The Orioles have been operating with a six-man bullpen this week. In addition to having starter Chris Tillman warm up in the eighth inning to potentially pitch the ninth despite being scheduled to start Sunday, Wade Miley has also been in the bullpen this year for cover.
However, Yacabonis is the only reliever coming to Baltimore at this time for reinforcement. The team will make further additions after the minor league season ends on Sept. 4, but already need to create two 40-man roster spots to add Sisco, Álvarez and the returning J.J. Hardy off the 60-day disabled list and could face a crunch to find more space.
The Virginian-Pilot first reported the call-ups of Sisco, Álvarez and Rickard.