Orioles second baseman Ryan Flaherty forces out Washington's… (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore…)
Even Ryan Flaherty was surprised when he received a call Wednesday morning telling him he was being recalled by the Orioles after just eight games at Triple-A Norfolk.
When the Orioles sent Flaherty to the minors, the purpose was to get him more at-bats so he could regain his comfort offensively. But the move to bring him back right after he completed the mandatory 10-day minor league option window was made so he could solidify the second base position defensively.
The move also quickly ended the Orioles’ experiment at second base with Yamaico Navarro, who was optioned to Norfolk to make room for Flaherty. Flaherty started at second Wednesday, batting eighth against the Washington Nationals, and hit an RBI double in his first at-bat.
Flaherty, who was optioned to Norfolk on May 18 after struggling at the plate with the Orioles, batted .265/.286/.471 with two home runs, five RBIs and four multi-hit games for the Tides.
“I tried to work on a couple things when I was down there,” Flaherty said. “Yeah, go down and try to get my feet back underneath me and try to come back and help this team. I feel like I'm in a position where I can help this team.”
While he went to Norfolk to work on finding himself offensively, Flaherty’s defense — particularly his ability to turn the double play — was something the club missed.
“There are nights when we have enough offense where that’s all our guy needs to do,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It might help our pitching a little bit; the double play is a good play. [Navarro] turned some, and [Alexi Casilla] is capable, too. We’ll see. [Optioning Flaherty] was what was needed at the time, and I hope he benefitted from it. We’ll see.”
Flaherty took over the majority of second base duties after Brian Roberts suffered a hamstring injury in the third game of the season, but he hit just .133/.228/.233 in 30 games before he was optioned to Norfolk.
“There was some stuff physically, but a lot of mental stuff, things like that and trying to work on some things,” Flaherty said. “I'm sure every time you get out of the environment a little bit, it takes a little pressure off. But you want to play good wherever you are. Even down there, you want to play good.”
Navarro batted .286/.333/.357 in eight games with the Orioles, driving in two runs in Monday's win over the Nationals, but he was inconsistent in the field, making two errors.