Last season, O’s minor league player of the year Joe Mahoney, a first baseman, did start a few games in left field for the Double-A Bowie Baysox.
Next year, Mahoney will be back at first base, but the number of games he plays as an outfielder should increase also.
“I didn’t mind it and they said they may put me out there once or twice a week (next season). The more versatile you can be, the more valuable you are,” Mahoney said.
There are a few good reasons for Mahoney to try his hand in the outfield, where he did play some in high school and he also spent some time playing there during his sophomore year at the University of Richmond.
One, he mentioned, to increase his versatility. Also, what if the O’s do sign a first baseman this winter to a multi-year contract? Mahoney may need another position on his baseball resume.
When he played left at Bowie, what was the hardest part?
“Just reading the ball off the bat and routes. I misplayed a few balls, because I didn’t take a good route. Just reading the ball off the bat and paying attention to different hitters in the lineup.”
Meanwhile, Mahoney, who batted .307-18-78 in 124 games between Frederick and Bowie in 2010, reports he is progressing nicely after October arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
“It was bothering me for a few months. I felt it some days, I won’t speculate that it hampered the way I played. I started feeling it probably in June or July and it was gradually getting worse into September.
“I had a torn lateral meniscus in my right knee. He went in and cleaned it up and things are going good now.
“I’ve had a knee surgery in the past, in high school, seven or eight years ago, so I kind of knew what the feeling was. I just wanted to make sure it didn’t become a recurring problem. It was a minor surgery,” the 23-year-old Mahoney said.
Mahoney left winter ball in Venezuela after just one game due to a sprained right wrist that is now healed. But while an O’s doctor was looking at his wrist, Mahoney mentioned his right knee issues and that led to the surgery.
“I’ve been doing physical therapy for about two weeks now and it’s been pretty strenuous, trying to get the strength back in my leg and get to the point where I can do my offseason workouts like I want to.
“I haven’t been cleared yet to run, but I’m in the weight room five or six days a week right now doing upper body work.”
When I talked to Mahoney recently, just before the O’s set their 40-man roster, he was hoping to be added and he was last Friday.
“It’s a big step, it is something you work towards. It’s a big step for your career, so we are a little anxious,” he said before he got word he had made the 40-man roster.
Mahoney got married in October and he and his bride will head off to a honeymoon around Christmas. He will not be playing any more winter ball.
Now, he’ll continue his offseason workouts while looking to make improvements in his game before he heads south next February for spring training.
“I want to continue to work on my defense at first, my footwork and continue to work in left field. Continue to work on strike zone awareness and also try to cut down some strikeouts. I will probably start hitting very soon.
“I was happy where I was at the end of the year (on offense). Just keep working on being consistent, hit some home runs and get some hits in clutch spots,” he said.