Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Associated Press
SARASOTA, Fla. - Game-ending home runs in spring training are not a big deal. But Ryan Flaherty, the former Deering High player, enjoyed his Thursday.
A year ago, Flaherty was a Rule 5 draft choice of the Baltimore Orioles and he stayed with the team the entire season, even homering in the division series against the New York Yankees.
Flaherty isn't a sure thing to make the roster this year, but Manager Buck Showalter likes Flaherty's versatility. He came to the plate with two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and hit a three-run homer to give the Orioles an 11-10 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays.
"Everyone knows the games don't mean anything but at the same time everyone is competing, everyone is trying, so it feels good every time you do something good," Flaherty said.
In the regular season, the atmosphere would have been electric. In spring training, it's anything but electric.
"Right before, the umpire and the catcher were sitting there joking, 'hey it's 3-and-2 in the bottom of the ninth and you can hear a penny drop.' So it was kind of funny," Flaherty said.
Mark Buehrle, the Blue Jays' third starter behind R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson, allowed Nolan Reimold's home run in the first in his two innings. He gave up two hits and walked three.
"For me, I hate walking guys. I'd rather give up 10 hits and no walks," Buehrle said. "That's the frustrating part."
Jason Hammel, a likely candidate to start opening day for Baltimore, allowed five hits in 21/3 innings. He struck out four.
Hammel wants to build up his stamina before April 2, when the Orioles play at Tampa Bay.
"I'd like to be six, seven, eight innings strong by then. Once the first game of the season happens, everybody should be in midseason form, if you ask me, strength-wise. Maybe you're still looking for some feel. I want to be ready to go when the season starts," Hammel said.
Showalter won't pitch Hammel or any of his other starters in remaining exhibition games against AL East opponents.
"We're going to see these guys a ton of times this year. It's nice to see them early, but you don't want to be overexposed," Hammel said.