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Baltimore Orioles 2013 spring training: Utility man Flaherty may have the tools to get roster spot

By Eduardo A. Encina,

SARASOTA, Fla. — With 16 players capable of playing the outfield in Orioles camp this spring, Manager Buck Showalter will spend a lot focus there during Grapefruit League games.

In deciding reserve roles, defensive flexibility will play a large factor. Four players — Russ Canzler, Travis Ishiakwa, Steve Pearce and Conor Jackson — will split time between outfield and first base as the Orioles seek a back up to Chris Davis

But utility man Ryan Flaherty could have an advantage over the others, especially if he can solidify the team’s faith in him to be the backup first baseman. Flaherty has played all four infield and both corner outfield spots.

“Flaherty is going to make it [tough],” Showalter said. “You can tell he’s a little different look to him this spring. After getting through last year, he’s not feeling his way around anymore. He’s a real confident guy. He thinks he can do this and help us. I think he might be right.”

Flaherty, who was the team’s Rule 5 pick last season, has minor league options now, but his bat and glove progressed after a second-half rehab stint.

In Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Minnesota Twins at Ed Smith Stadium, starting right fielder Nick Markakis served as the designated hitter, giving non-roster invitee Chris Dickerson a start in right.

“We asked [Markakis] if he had a preference, and he said either way worked fine,” Showalter said. “It worked better. We wanted to see Dickerson in the outfield. … I’ve got a real good feel for what Nick can do. I want to get as many looks as I can at those guys.”

Robinson homers

Trayvon Robinson’s two-run homer in the eighth inning gave the Orioles a 5-3, come-from-behind win in Saturday’s game, played before an announced 5,797.

Robinson, who is competing for a reserve spot in the outfield, took Twins left-hander Tyler Robertson over the left-field fence after Canzler led off the inning with a walk.

“He’s going to get an opportunity here to show what he can do,” Showalter said of Robinson, a 25-year-old acquired this offseason from the Seattle Mariners in a trade for infielder Robert Andino.

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who left camp after the game to join his Netherlands’ World Baseball Classic team, drove in the game-tying run in the seventh inning with a one-out single to right off Shairon Martis, scoring Yamaico Navarro, who doubled in his first at-bat of the game.. . .

Top prospect Dylan Bundy escaped a bases-loaded jam in a scoreless fifth inning of work. Bundy opened the inning with a three-pitch strikeout of Darin Mastroianni, but he then allowed back-to-back singles to Eduardo Escobar and Brandon Boggs, the latter on a a broken-bat looper.

Bundy walked Chris Parmelee on a close full-count pitch to load the bases before striking out Chris Colabello looking.

“My arm felt good,” said Bundy, who threw 27 pitches, 17 of them strikes. .

— Baltimore Sun

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