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Orioles notebook: Flaherty starts fourth straight game, this one in right

Rookie utility man Ryan Flaherty started just one game in the club's first 16 games and now has started each of the past four, including in right field Saturday night — the first time he had appeared there as a major leaguer.

“I think every day you have to somewhat expect to be in there, and once you're not, then you make changes according to that plan,” said Flaherty, whom the Orioles selected from the Chicago Cubs in December's Rule 5 draft.

The Cubs organization wanted to increase the position flexibility of Flaherty, an infielder by trade, so he played 28 games (21 starts) in left and 13 in right (eight starts) for Double-A Tennessee. This spring, the Orioles had Flaherty play six games in right, including three starts.

“I feel comfortable out there now, I feel it is something I can do,” he said. “And like I've said before, anything I can do to help this team win, I'll do.”

The rookie's flexibility is particularly critical during the chilly April nights, when many of the Orioles' players are battling illnesses. On Saturday, Flaherty's presence allowed Nick Markakis, who is battling sickness, to be the designated hitter and afforded another day off for fourth outfielder Endy Chavez.

“It's for nights like tonight, when you've got people sick and you're trying to figure out a way to keep them as healthy as you can,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We didn't have this [depth] last year.”

Flaherty has played four positions this season — third base, second base, first base and right field.

“I don't think we're far enough down on this to say exactly [whether he can play in right],” Showalter said. “There's only one way to find out though. … I know his background. He's played all over. I look at the games at different positions. So we know how many he's played in Double-A, Triple-A.”

Wieters doesn't start

Showalter said he expected to give Matt Wieters at least one day off this weekend and decided on Saturday night because the starting catcher has been dealing with flu-like symptoms — which are being passed around the clubhouse. He is scheduled to start behind the plate Sunday.

“I knew I'd get one of the two days off,” Wieters said. “We figured having the night off would help me get better.”

Guthrie hurt while bicycling

Former Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, whom the club traded to the Colorado Rockies in February, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday after the chain in the bicycle he was riding broke and sent him tumbling Friday. He jammed his shoulder and is experiencing pain in the AC joint, though an MRI showed no structural damage. Guthrie is 2-1 with a 5.92 ERA in four starts with the Rockies in 2012.

Around the horn

Left fielder Nolan Reimold extended his team-high hitting streak to 13 games with a second-inning single. … Saturday was the 56th anniversary of Frank Robinson's first big league homer, a two-run shot for the Reds against the Chicago Cubs' Paul Minner in Cincinnati. He went on to hit 586 career homers. … Chavez is day-to-day with a slight intercostal strain and was held out of Saturday's starting lineup because of potential bad weather. … Showalter said left-hander Zach Britton (shoulder) responded well after his 35-pitch mound session Friday.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysunFlaherty starts fourth straight game, first in right
    Rookie utility man Ryan Flaherty started just one game in the club’s first 16 games, and now has started each of the last four, including in right field on Saturday night – the first time he had appeared there as a major-leaguer.

    “I think every day you have to somewhat expect to be in there and once you’re not, then you make changes according to that plan,” said Flaherty, whom the Orioles selected from the Chicago Cubs last December in the Rule 5 draft. 

      An infielder by trade, the Cubs organization wanted to increase Flaherty’s position flexibility so he played 28 games (21 starts) in left and 13 in right (eight starts) for Double-A Tennessee. This spring, the Orioles had Flaherty play six games in right, including three starts.

         “I feel comfortable out there now, I feel it is something I can do,” he said. “And like I’ve said before, anything I can do to help this team win I’ll do.”

      The rookie’s flexibility is particularly critical during the chilly April nights, when many of the Orioles players are battling illnesses. On Saturday, Flaherty’s presence allowed Nick Markakis, who is battling a sickness, to be the designated hitter and afforded another day off for fourth outfielder Endy Chavez.

        “It’s for nights like tonight, when you’ve got people sick and you’re trying to figure out a way to keep them as healthy as you can,” Showalter said Saturday. “We didn’t have this (depth) last year.”
   
       Flaherty has already played four different positions this season – third base, second base, first base and now right field.

        “I don’t think we’re far enough down on this to say exactly (if he can play in right),” Showalter said. “There’s only one way to find out though. …I know his background. He’s played all over. I look at the games at different positions. So we know how many he’s played in Double-A, Triple-A.”

    Wieters out of Saturday’s lineup; in Sunday
     Showalter said he expected to give Matt Wieters at least one day off this weekend, and decided on Saturday night because  the starting catcher has been dealing with flu-like symptoms – which is being passed around the clubhouse. He is scheduled to start behind the plate Sunday.
        
       “I knew I’d get one of the two days off,” Wieters said. “We figured having the night off would help me get better.”

   Guthrie hurt while bicycling
      Former Oriole pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, whom the club traded to the Colorado Rockies in February, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday after the chain in the bicycle he was riding broke and sent him tumbling Friday. He jammed his shoulder and is experiencing pain in the AC joint, though a MRI showed no structural damage. Guthrie is 2-1 with a 5.92 ERA in four starts with the Rockies in 2012.

   Around the horn
    Left fielder Nolan Reimold extended his team-high hit streak to 13 Saturday with a second-inning single. … Saturday was the 56th anniversary of Frank Robinson’s first big-league homer, a two-run shot for the Cincinnati Reds against Chicago’s Paul Minner in Cincinnati. He went on to hit 586 career homers. … Chavez is day-to-day with a slight intercostal strain and was held out of Saturday’s starting lineup because of potential bad weather. … Showalter said Zach Britton (shoulder) responded well after his 35-pitch mound session on Friday.
   Dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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