SEATTLE — Right-hander Mike Wright's third start since his second demotion to Triple-A Norfolk went about as well as the first two did Saturday night — he struck out four and allowed three hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
He has now allowed two earned runs in 20 2/3 innings, with 13 strikeouts and five walks in that span. Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn't have that line handy before Saturday's game in Seattle, but gave an update on where Wright was in the organization's eyes.
"His results have been a little better than he's pitched," Showalter said. "I think that's kind of a level thing. [He's been] good. It's not bad at all. His numbers are good. There's a few things that he maybe got away with that he wouldn't have gotten away with here, but I think a couple more starts and you're going to really like where he is. It's good for him. We're trying to leave him alone and let him kind of get settled in there a little bit."
Wright was optioned to Triple-A twice in June. The first time, he was summoned back a day later when reliever Darren O'Day went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Wright made three starts after that, but was sent out a second time after allowing eight runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 17.
Showalter said that even if there was a dire need for a power arm like Wright's in the bullpen, the team's preference is to leave the 26-year-old where he is.
"Where we are with depth of starters, I'd rather leave Mike alone there as a starter and keep the ball in his hand," Showalter said.
Flaherty's cruel fate: Ryan Flaherty filled in as a fixture in the Orioles infield as well as anyone could ask while shortstop J.J. Hardy was out, providing a bit of power and standout defense at third base while Manny Machado shifted to short.
But since Hardy's return and Machado's suspension ended, Flaherty has been back to his the familiar utility infielder role off the bench. Flaherty entered Saturday without an at-bat since June 22 after starting 28 of 43 games in Hardy's absence.
"It's part of the game, you know?" Flaherty said. "Obviously, it's my role. I understand it. You just stay ready, and when your name is called, try to get in there and help the team win."
He entered as a late-inning defensive substitute twice in the past week, but returned to the seldom-used role knowing he has served his purpose. The Orioles were 24-18 without Hardy, and Flaherty got into a groove as his regular role grew. He hit .221/.306/.326 with two home runs in that stretch. He has 16 hits over his past 17 games as a starter.
"When you get that chance, you want the team to do well," Flaherty said. "Especially when guys are out, you want to hold the [line] and keep the thing going. It's nice to do that."
Around the horn: Showalter said O'Day would need a "nice development" to take another bullpen in Los Angeles next week. "I told him if he wasn't better when we got back from this trip, it's probably time to change environments, maybe head to Sarasota," Showalter said. "Every day, Darren wants to be out there so bad. It's almost like you push it too hard." ... Pitching prospect Hunter Harvey (sports hernia) will make his next rehabilitation appearance for short-season Single-A Aberdeen, Showalter said. … Reliever Mychal Givens will leave the Orioles for the birth of his first child "any day now," Showalter said.