Flaherty remains flexible over role with Orioles

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SARASOTA, Fla. — — Ryan Flaherty

rattles off the different gloves he has in his locker at Ed Smith Stadium.


"There's outfielder, a second baseman's one, one for third and short, one for first," he said.

No catcher's mitt?


"Not yet," said Flaherty, who was taken from the Chicago Cubs in December's Rule 5 draft. "I guess if they asked me, I'm sure I could go back there and make it work, but I don't have much experience behind the plate. Little League I caught a little bit, but not since then."

In Sunday's night game against the New York Yankees, the 25-year-old Flaherty made his first start for the Orioles in right field. The day before he started in left — in front of the replica Green Monster wall at the Boston Red Sox spring facility, JetBlue Park.

He's a shortstop by trade but has played all over the diamond in four minor league seasons: 175 games at second, 111 at short, 102 at third, 28 in left, 13 in right and four at first base.

"Last year, when I was with [the Cubs organization], I really moved around," he said. "Left, right, second, third, short, first. So I feel comfortable pretty much every position they put me in."

Flaherty is fighting for the Orioles' open utility spot this spring with Matt Antonelli and Steve Tolleson, among others, so that flexibility is key. If he doesn't make the club, the Orioles will have to offer him back to the Cubs at half the original $50,000 purchasing fee.

"It gives everyone flexibility with everything. And it is a challenge," Flaherty said. "It's a challenge every day you come in. It's kind of fun, you get to see where you are going to play and kind of go from there. I am excited for it."

Flaherty hasn't yet played first base for the Orioles, but manager

Buck Showalter


said that's also in the plans before the exhibition season ends. Heading into Sunday night, Flaherty has played in 11 games this spring, hitting .231 with one homer and five RBIs in 26 at-bats.

A former first-round supplemental pick (41st overall in 2008) out of Vanderbilt, many scouts and baseball observers believe his bat will work in the majors. So it is matter of moving him around until he settles into a position where a club has a need.

Right now, for the Orioles, that's a utility spot. And that's fine with him if it means making his big league debut in April.

Hammel continues commanding zone


Jason Hammel


wanted to go five full innings against the Braves at ESPN Wide World of Sports on Sunday afternoon, but was pulled after reaching his pitch count (70 pitches) after 4 2/3 innings in the Orioles' 2-2, 10-inning tie with Atlanta.

Hammel started strong, attacking the strike zone with his mid-90s fastball. Take away

Chipper Jones

' opposite field double in the second and

Jordan Parraz

's opposite-field RBI single two batters later, and Hammel held a Braves lineup — that included six starters — in check.


Hammel scattered four hits and struck out five with just one walk.

Ronny Paulino

also threw out two base runners trying to steal second

"I feel pretty good," Hammel said. "Execution's been good. I'm very pleased with where the slider's at, the curveball will come. The fastball command is pretty good right now. You pitch off your fastball. I'm pleased with where it's at. It can get a little bit better."

Orioles and Braves tie at 2

Orioles shortstop


Manny Machado

, the organization's top position player prospect, paced an Orioles two-run eighth with a one-out, run-scoring single to right-center one batter after

L.J. Hoes

' leadoff ground-rule double. After moving to second on a ground out, Machado scored on Parraz's fielding error in right.

Designated hitter

Nick Johnson


, a non-roster player making a serious push for a spot on the team, was 2-for-2 with a double and walk. Reliever

Oscar Villarreal

threw two scoreless innings in relief.

Former Oriole Philley dies

The Orioles announced Sunday that

Dave Philley


, who had been the organization's oldest Oriole, died Thursday in his hometown of Paris, Texas. He was 91.

Philley, primarily an outfielder, played for the Orioles in 1955 and 1956 and again in 1960 and 1961 as part of an 18-year big-league career. In 1961, he set an American League record with 24 pinch hits, a mark that still stands.

Now, the oldest living Oriole is Philley's good friend from Paris, Texas,

Eddie Robinson

, who is 91. The first baseman played seven games for the Orioles in 1957.

Around the horn


The Orioles set a single-game Ed Smith Stadium attendance record Sunday night against the Yankees with an announced crowd of 8,686. It broke the previous mark of 8,549 set on March 19, 2011 against the Philadelphia Phillies. ... Outfielder

Nolan Reimold

and his wife had their second daughter, Mary Clare, this weekend. Reimold was slated to play in Sunday's game in Orlando, but instead was given two extra days off and will re-join the team Tuesday. … Former Oriole

Baltimore Orioles Insider


Want to be an Orioles Insider? The Sun has you covered. Don't miss any Orioles news, notes and info all baseball season and beyond.

Mike Bordick

made his MASN broadcasting debut on Sunday during the broadcast of the Yankees-Orioles game. Bordick, who has been the organization's offensive fundamentals coordinator, will do 81 games as an announcer and also work as a special assignment instructor with the club's minor league system. ... Another round of cuts could come shortly after Monday's off day as innings will begin to decrease. … Showalter said he still wants to give

Wilson Betemit


some innings at shortstop. That could happen next week. Betemit has played 3B, 1B and LF this spring. ... The members of last year's Frederick Keys team that won the Carolina League championship were presented with their rings in a pre-game ceremony Sunday night. ... Monday is the Orioles' only scheduled off day of the spring.

Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.