Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said a Sunday-morning phone conversation with Triple-A Norfolk manager Gary Kendall reinforced both the numbers and the in-person reports he's getting on catcher Chance Sisco with the Tides.
Sisco had a standout spring training for the Orioles, but he didn't make the team after they claimed Pedro Severino off waivers from the Washington Nationals on the final weekend. He had a slow start for Norfolk before picking things up of late.
In his past 19 games entering Sunday's doubleheader, Sisco is batting .368/.476/.706 with six home runs and five doubles in 82 plate appearances, bringing him to .287 with a .909 OPS this season.
"Chance is really swinging the bat well," Hyde said. "He likes the [at-bats] he's taking. I think he's, after a slow start, it's nice to see him rebound and have a really nice few weeks."
"I think there's still development to have happen, and it sounds like it's going well," Hyde said. "I think we're happy with [it]. And, we have a lot of not-finished products here also, right? But with Chance, we felt like the right thing for him to do was to go get more playing time behind the plate and with the bat in Triple-A. He's swinging the bat well; he's making progress defensively. Everything is good on that."
This run represents Sisco's most extended success in Triple-A after he hit .267 with a .736 OPS at Norfolk in 2017 and .242 with a .696 OPS for the Tides last summer in between major-league stints.
Despite doing exactly what the Orioles asked in spring training, both at the plate and behind it as he looked to grow into the confidence required to be a major-league catcher, the Orioles sent him down at the end of camp in hopes that his development would continue in the minors.
"I know [Kendall] and [major league field coordinator/catching instructor Tim Cossins] talk regularly about him, also," Hyde said. "He's coming along. It sounds like his throwing is getting better, and he's doing a nice job commanding, the leadership aspect that we talked about a lot in spring training, he's taking that into Norfolk. Everybody's pleased with the progress he's making."
The Orioles have Severino and Austin Wynns on the major league roster. Severino is batting .237 with a .782 OPS and four home runs entering Sunday's game, and has thrown out an a major league-best seven of 10 attempted base-stealers. Wynns has two hits in 18 plate appearances and has thrown out one of four base-stealers. At Triple-A, 19 of 21 base-stealers have been successful against Sisco.
Back to Bundy
Hyde said he didn't have much more of an explanation for why starter Dylan Bundy's fastball velocity was down overall Saturday, or why it dropped even further in the fifth inning to precipitate him not being asked to pitch the sixth despite throwing just 80 pitches.
"I talked to him this morning," Hyde said. "His velo was down a little bit all game long, and when we talked about it — he understood totally, too — in the fifth inning there, the velo dropped a little bit more, he walks a couple guys, a lot of arm-side-up misses, and doesn't look right from the bench.
"I'm not looking to pull anybody out after 80 pitches. I want guys to go as deep as possible, but when I see velo drop and arm-side-up misses and two walks and command being shaky, it's a little bit of a red flag for me. I'm glad we got him out when we did."
Around the horn
The Orioles said Sunday’s game would likely begin in a rain delay, but they felt there would be a window to begin around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. … Left-hander Richard Bleier, who is on a rehabilitation assignment after recovering from shoulder soreness, came through his back-to-back outings Friday and Saturday at Double-A Bowie well, Hyde said. ... Outfielder Austin Hays (thumb) will join High-A Frederick this week to get his season started.