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Orioles' Chance Sisco back in the majors with a clear idea of what will keep him here

Chance Sisco #15 of the Baltimore Orioles throws out Kevin Pillar #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays who is thrown out attempting to steal second base in the second inning during MLB game action at Rogers Centre on June 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada
Chance Sisco #15 of the Baltimore Orioles throws out Kevin Pillar #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays who is thrown out attempting to steal second base in the second inning during MLB game action at Rogers Centre on June 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada(Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images)

As hot hitters such as DJ Stewart and Chance Sisco were knocking on the door for a major-league call-up last month at Triple-A Norfolk, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde and executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias each said that those players would join the big-league team when they were at a point where management was confident they could stick there for good.

Sisco, who was recalled on Monday and is on the bench for Tuesday's series-opener against the Texas Rangers, said he has a good idea of what it will look like if he does that.

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"I'm definitely excited to be here," Sisco said. "Things that were going well were just sticking to my approach and trying to be consistent day in and day out with preparation and approach in the box, and catching-wise, just pretty much sticking to that."

In taking Adley Rutschman with the MLB draft's first pick, the Orioles added a potent switch-hitter at a position that isn't often seen in the top five picks.

Sticking here, Sisco said, will come down to "staying consistent with that, and knowing that I can play here and going out there and having fun with it."

Sisco, who was the team's most productive hitter in spring training, was sent down the last weekend of camp when the team claimed catcher Pedro Severino off waivers from the Washington Nationals.

He said he was "definitely disappointed," but he went down with a simple message from the staff: Just keep playing like he was in spring, and he'd make his way back.

"They just told me to go down there and continue what I had built on in spring, and that's what I really tried to do, and what I tried to focus on lately, the work that we did in spring, to continue it," Sisco said.

"That's not what you want, to get sent down, but I tried to focus on the good things and the positives of what I got out of spring and take those with me to Triple-A to start the season and continue what I built on in spring, continue that during the season."

His season at Norfolk was uneven, but productive on a wide view. Sisco started slowly and didn't get his batting average over .200 before April 28. However, a run of games that included seven home runs in an eight-game span got Hyde and the Orioles staff's attention before he cooled again.

That barely lasted two weeks before his power stroke came back, and he left the Tides on Saturday batting .289 with a .914 OPS and 10 home runs. Sisco took the roster spot of Austin Wynns, and will share catching duties with Severino.

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Mike Elias and the Orioles selected first in rounds 3-10 on Tuesday, adding more talent following their first-day crop.

His defense will be judged just as much as the offense. He threw out six of 33 base stealers for a 18.1% success rate, still well-below the major league average. He’s been better lately, though, having started 2-for-21 but throwing out 4-of-12 since.

“Sounds like his leadership, the leadership behind the plate and how he's commanding the game and pitch calling, a little bit of the intangible part is really improving,” Hyde said. “Throwing the ball a little bit better and he needs to continue to develop and needs to continue to work on footwork and accuracy. But that's improved over the course of spring training as well, and we're looking forward to continuing here. A lot of good things.”

Shorebirds honored

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles' top pick in last year's MLB draft, was one of eight players on Low-A Delmarva named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday.

Rodriguez has a 1.47 ERA with 61 strikeouts and a 0.84 WHIP in 43 innings for the Shorebirds, and is one of three starting pitchers to make the team, along with left-hander Drew Rom (1.49 ERA) and right-hander Ofelky Peralta (1.99 ERA).

Reliever Zach Matson (1.69 ERA) will represent the bullpen, and on the hitting side, shortstop Adam Hall, first baseman Seamus Curran, outfielder Doran Turchin and catcher Daniel Fajardo will take part in the showcase game June 18 in Charleston, W.Va.

Davis activated

While Sisco was added to the Orioles' roster on Monday, the final piece of this spell of transactions was activating first baseman Chris Davis from the injured list ahead of Tuesday's game.

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Davis was slumping badly when he landed on the injured list with hip soreness May 26, but spent the requisite 10 days on the shelf before returning to bat seventh Tuesday against his former team, the Texas Rangers.

Around the horn

Hyde said with do-it-all utility man Stevie Wilkerson optioned to Triple-A Norfolk Sunday, rookie DJ Stewart will be the backup center fielder behind Keon Broxton and will likely see time there before long. Stewart has 38 career minor league innings in center field, but that’s more than Wilkerson had when he came up to play center field. “I think anything goes this year,” Hyde said.

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