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Orioles Notebook: Flaherty shows signs of progress

BALTIMORE - Ryan Flaherty didn't wait long to contribute in his Baltimore Orioles return on Wednesday. The Orioles second baseman, who was sent down to Class-AAA Norfolk on May 18 due to his early-season struggles, hit an RBI double in his first at-bat.

Then, he singled in his second at-bat and scored on Steve Pearce's two-run homer.

"It's a start," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's had two hits before."

But it was the first time this season. And even with that, Flaherty is still just hitting .149 on the season.

Flaherty's RBI in the second inning last night was just his seventh of the season. But Showalter is optimistic that he will continue to improve, beginning with last night.

"Those 8-9 spots in the American League, they really make guys work," Showalter said. "Ryan's capable of that."

In his limited role last season as a Rule 5 rookie, Flaherty hit .216 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 77 games. He also hit a home run in the American League Division Series against the Yankees.

Showalter said his lack of a track record makes it hard to project his numbers over a full season. He also added that, much like earlier in the season, he is impressed with Flaherty's defense at second.

"A big reminder was how good a double play he turned [Wednesday] night," Showalter said. "I know he's going to give himself a chance to be good."

WHAT A START: Chris Davis has gotten off to one of the best starts in Orioles history this season. April's AL Player of the Month went 4 for 4 with a pair of homers on Wednesday.

Davis' 19 home runs through the first 53 games are the most by a Baltimore player since Brady Anderson's 20 in 1996. His 50 RBIs are the second-most in Orioles history through 53 games behind Frank Robinson's 53 in 1967.

And, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two players in franchise history have needed fewer games to reach the 50-RBI mark - Robinson who did it in 49 in 1967 and Ken Williams who did it in 47 for the St. Louis Browns in 1925.

Davis entered Thursday leading the majors in homers and is 18 for 30 over his last seven games.

TEAGARDEN'S PROGRESS: Orioles backup catcher Taylor Teagarden was flying to Norfolk Thursday to join the Tides for his rehab assignment. Showalter said the plan is for Teagarden to catch nine innings Friday, seven to nine more on Saturday, and be the designated hitter on Sunday.

"[We'll] kind of wait and see how those three days go," Showalter said.

COMING UP: The Orioles begin a three-game series at home against the Detroit Tigers tonight. Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 3.94 ERA) will oppose Detroit's Max Scherzer (7-0, 3.42).

Saturday's probables are Jason Hammel (7-2, 4.98) and Justin Verlander (6-4, 3.68). And on Sunday, the listed starters are Kevin Gausman (0-2, 11.00) and Rick Porcello (2-2, 5.29).

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