Ryan Flaherty making some progress with bat since return to the Orioles

Is Ryan Flaherty swinging and hitting better since he returned from Triple-A?

The stat sheet says yes, but he didn't have much to out-perform of course. Flaherty was batting .133 when he was sent to the minors after the game on May 18.

In nine games since returning to Baltimore, he is batting .276 (8-for-29) with two multi-hit games, two doubles and two RBIs.

Does Buck Showalter see signs of progress for Flaherty on offense since his return?

"Little bit," Showalter said. "He has hit some balls on the button right at people. He just missed a home run at Houston. I like that he is playing a good second base for the most part and he's turning the double play.

"He's a hard tryer. Trying to stay selective when you are not hitting for as high an average as you want to is hard. It's hard because you are trying to get three hits in one at-bat. It takes a lot of maturity to just grind each pitch and he's trying to do that.

"We'll see. As long as he's playing good defense and working hard at it. He and Alexi (Casilla) are our best options right now," Showalter said.

Showalter has been a strong public supporter of Flaherty and maybe one reason is he saw him make progress last year as the season went on. His average went from .152 in May to .242 in June, .258 in July, .286 in August and .318 in September.

Flaherty had an OPS of 1.148 in 22 at-bats last September and then put a jolt into a few balls during spring training in Florida. But he got off to a poor start and it eventually led to a brief Norfolk stint. Now he's back and, the Orioles hope, so is the improved bat that they saw more and more as last season wore on.

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