SARASOTA, Fla. - You can’t keep the Flaccos out of the news these days.
His brother, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco recently signed a six-year contract worth $120.6 million that made him the highest-paid player in NFL history.
At least the Orioles aren’t having salary cap issues. And now, New England can boast that it has a Flacco.
Michael Flacco, 26, batted .218/.289/.337 in 103 games at Single-A Frederick last season. He’s a career .253/.335/.378 hitter in four minor league seasons since the Orioles chose him in the 31st round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Flacco, who’s primarily a first baseman, played in four games at Double-A Bowie last year, the only time he’s risen above the Single-A level.
“The Orioles have more corner players than spots in our system and the Red Sox had interest in Mike Flacco, so we thought it was a match,” said executive vice president Dan Duquette.
“We appreciate Mike’s work and dedication to the Orioles and wish him good luck and health with his new club.”
As for today’s 3-3 tie, manager Buck Showalter praised the effort of left-hander Zach Britton.
“That’s the best he’s thrown this spring,” Showalter said. “That was impressive. He was real crisp. It was good to see. He could have gotten deep in the ballgame today. He got his pitch count up to where he needed to be and was able to do it within the innings allowed.
“I thought he started throwing the ball pretty well his last time out and this one, he took the next step. I think guys know where the finish line is and the opportunities they’re getting. It happens a lot this time of spring. The arms start coming a little bit. I think you saw it some with Tommy (Hunter) and (T.J.) McFarland, and you’ve seen it with Britton and (Brian) Matusz. It’s good.
“I’m not going to over-evaluate it right now because that’s for another time for me personally. But I like where we are with our options. It’s intriguing.”
The choices for the last rotation spot present Showalter with a difficult decision, “but it’s the good difficult,” he said.
“I’ve told you before, many times here it was just the last man standing that called himself a starter, it seems like. That’s not the case now. I look at it as a good difficult. I’ve had the bad difficult.
“Like I’ve been saying all along, we’re looking from within. We like our options from within.”
Once again, Showalter noted the changes in Ryan Flaherty this spring.
“He’s come in here and there’s a different demeanor and a different calmness and different pace to his game and a different presentation to Ryan,” Showalter said.
“This is a guy who started for us at second base in the American League playoffs. We like him. It’s one thing to be exposed to that. He doesn’t look like a Rule 5 guy. But it wasn’t like somebody we were just trying to carry and get through the year last year. He was a contributor for us.”
The Orioles will weigh the value of Flaherty being a part-time player for them or a regular at Triple-A Norfolk.
“There’s two sides to that,” Showalter said. “We’re going to do what makes the Baltimore Orioles the best the first game of the year and the second game of the year and the third game of the year and so on. We’ve got some other people who can do that too, though. It’s not just Ryan.”
Miguel Gonzalez stayed on the mound at least twice for extended innings at the minor league complex to increase his pitch count.
“He was crisp, too,” Showalter said.