SARASOTA, Fla. - Ryan Flaherty has a nice collection of gloves in his spring training locker, but not because he’s a memorabilia nut.
Flaherty is making his first start in right field tonight against the New York Yankees. He’s also played left field, shortstop, second base and third base.
The only thing missing is a catcher’s mitt.
“I guess if they asked me, I’m sure I could go back there and make it work, but I don’t have much experience behind the plate,” he said, grinning. “Little League I caught a little bit, but not since then.”
Flaherty is accustomed to moving around the field, so this spring has seemed pretty normal, except for his Rule 5 status. In four minor league seasons, he’s played 175 games at second base, 111 at shortstop, 102 at third base, 28 in left field, 13 in right field and four at first base.
“I feel comfortable pretty much every position they put me in,” he said.
“I played the most shortstop coming up, at least in college. In pro ball it was a lot of second base. Really, wherever they tell me to go, I feel pretty comfortable.”
Flaherty, who’s 6-for-26 with a home run and five RBIs this spring, checks the lineup card each day before deciding where to take grounders or shag fly balls in batting practice. If he’s not starting, he tries to anticipate where he might be used off the bench.
“If it’s the outfield, then I try to get at least two rounds in the outfield in batting practice,” he said. “Especially not taking that many reps there so far, I had to do a little catch up on it.”
Flaherty’s best chance to make the club is by demonstrating that he can play multiple positions, including the outfield. He already holds an edge because he can’t be sent to the minors without the Cubs having a chance to reclaim him for $25,000.
“I actually like it,” he said. “I feel comfortable. I know when I was in (the Cubs’ organization) last year, they came to me and said, ‘Hey, we want you to play every position,’ and I was OK with that. I was excited for it. It gives everyone flexibility with everything. And it is a challenge. It’s a challenge every day you come in.
“It’s kind of fun. You get to see where you’re going to play and kind of go from there. I’m excited for it.”
Manager Buck Showalter intends to use Flaherty at first base before the Orioles break camp. It’s just a matter of time.
“I have a first baseman’s mitt ready to go,” Flaherty said.
Of course he does.
“If they ask me to go over there, I’m ready to go over there,” he said. “Wherever they want me to go.”
The Orioles and Braves played to a 2-2 tie.
Of course they did.
The Orioles are 5-7-4. Their fourth tie was assured when Kyle Simon, a fourth-round pick in 2011 out of the University of Arizona, stranded runners on second and third in the bottom of the 10th.
Outfielder Nolan Reimold will rejoin the Orioles on Tuesday so he can spend a little more time with his wife and the newest addition to their family, Mary Clare, who was born on Friday.
Former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick makes his MASN debut tonight.