By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
5:56 AM EDT, August 20, 2012
Orioles rookie utility man Ryan Flaherty, currently on a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Norfolk, is starting to heat up.
Flaherty capped a four-hit game with a game-winning homer in the eighth inning to lead the Tides to a 5-4 win over Charlotte on Sunday night.
Flaherty, on the disabled list with a bacterial infection, began his rehab assignment with an 0-for-15 slump, but is 7-for-10 with two homers, a triple and three RBIs over his past three games.
Just because he’s beginning to hit well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will join the big league club soon. Minor league rehab assignments can last up to 20 days for position players, so the Orioles don’t have to activate Flaherty until the rosters expand Sept. 1.
That’s an important caveat since Flaherty was a Rule 5 pick in the offseason, so the Orioles had to keep him on the 25-man roster when healthy for the entire year or face having to offer him back to the Cubs for a nominal fee.
You’re not supposed to be able to stash a player on a minor league rehab assignment, but the Orioles can likely buy time with Flaherty.
At the same time, the positional flexibility that Flaherty offers – he can play all four infield position and both corner outfield spots – could be attractive now given the fact that the Orioles currently have nine other players on the DL and are currently working with a three-man bench because they are carrying 13 pitchers.
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