I’m going to test your memories, which might seem unfair at this early hour.
Remember when the Orioles were set in left field?
Nolan Reimold was going to be the regular and get enough at-bats for the Orioles to properly evaluate him. Endy Chavez was going to spell him - making sure to put the E before the I - and give the club good defense.
That plan has been put on hold.
Reimold is on the disabled list with a herniated disk in his neck. Chavez is expected to join him today with a sore intercostal muscle, which allows the Orioles to recall Tommy Hunter for Game 2.
Manager Buck Showalter is left with a bunch of infielders for left. Wilson Betemit can play there. Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty was going to start there last night before rain caused a postponement and - wait for it - left us with a straight doubleheader. Steve Tolleson, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Norfolk yesterday, has primarily been a middle infielder, but he’s played all three outfield positions in the minors.
Chris Davis played 52 games in left field in the minors. Mark Reynolds played 23 games in left in the minors and two in right in the majors. Nick Johnson has played two games in left in the majors, starting one of them. Robert Andino has played four games in left in the majors, starting two of them.
Showalter has a plethora of choices - if he doesn’t mind infielders playing in left.
Hopefully, none of them want to be, you know, left out.
Flaherty wears many hats. Or maybe it’s many gloves and mitts.
Along with being a utility infielder and occasional outfielder, he’s also the emergency catcher. Our suspicions were confirmed yesterday when Flaherty participated in catching drills before batting practice.
Flaherty crouched behind the plate, with bench coach John Russell serving as his pitcher, and practiced pickoff throws to first base.
Really? He’d be expected to throw behind runners at first base?
I’d be satisfied with Flaherty catching each fastball without being knocked backward.
“There were a couple other days I’ve gone out there with J.R.,” Flaherty said. “He just said, ‘Let’s work on some basic fundamental things, just in case we have an emergency or something happens and you have to go back there.’ “
I guess pickoff throws are a basic fundamental.
“I think they were going out there anyway - Matt (Wieters) and Expo (Luis Exposito) - and I just came along,” Flaherty said. “He said, ‘Hey, why don’t we go out there for 15 minutes and just do that.’ The only other thing I’ve done is try to receive stuff. Like I said, in case of an emergency.”
Blocking pitches in the dirt?
“I skipped that phase,” he said, laughing. “I’m sure I’ll hit that at some phase with J.R.”
Maybe they’ll also work on flipping over the dugout railing and sticking the landing.
Flaherty hasn’t caught much since Little League.
“Since then, not really,” he said. “A couple times when I was in the minor leagues, I had to go to the bullpen and catch like that. But not really.”
It’s not like a lot of guys in the clubhouse raced each other to a sign-up sheet or raised their hands and begged to be chosen.
“No one’s volunteering,” Flaherty said. “(Showalter) came to me.”
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
As for being a part-time left fielder, Flaherty said, “It’s gone pretty good. I played a little bit there last year, and in spring training I got into some games. I feel as comfortable there as anywhere else.”