The Baltimore Orioles have not yet made big splashes with trades or free-agent signings this winter. Not that Ryan Flaherty is paying a lot of attention.

“I’ve been a little bit busy this offseason,” said Flaherty, the Portland native who has played five major league seasons with Baltimore.

Flaherty, 30, got married in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last month. He’s back in town briefly before heading south again to prepare for spring training.

Before Flaherty leaves, he will take part in MaineVoices Live, a one-on-one interview sponsored by the Portland Press Herald. Flaherty will appear at the Portland House of Music & Events at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Flaherty is the first sports figure to be spotlighted in the MaineVoices Live series, and he’s a worthy candidate, given his major league success. Besides, who doesn’t want to participate in a baseball conversation in January?

While Baltimore eventually will make more moves to shore up its roster, the Orioles can count on Flaherty to fill in the gaps. Last year Flaherty again stretched his utility role, playing every infield position, plus left and right field. He made his major league pitching debut in August, giving up three hits and two runs in one inning of a 12-2 loss to Houston.

The Orioles made the playoffs last year – the third time with Flaherty – and now the team is rebuilding its roster.

Baltimore likely will lose outfielder Mark Trumbo and catcher Mark Wieters to free agency. The Orioles signed free-agent catcher Welington Castillo, which caught Flaherty’s attention. Castillo and Flaherty played together in the Cubs’ organization.

Flaherty noticed another transaction, when the Red Sox traded for left-hander Chris Sale.

“They have four or five (left-handers),” said Flaherty, a left-handed hitter who mostly plays against right-handers.

Boston now has four left-handed starters. I told Flaherty the Red Sox are making sure they don’t face him, since he has a .326 batting average at Fenway Park.

“Yeah, that’s probably the reason,” Flaherty said with a laugh.

MICHAEL MCCARTHY may have been the most popular Sea Dogs player in terms of reaching out to the community. The pitcher was always the first to volunteer for a public speaking role or to help out with a baseball clinic. On Sundays, when kids ran the bases at Hadlock Field after games, McCarthy hung around to give every runner high-fives at home plate.

McCarthy received the Sea Dogs’ Citizen of the Year award the past three seasons, a record.

The Red Sox released McCarthy last month, ending a six-year relationship with the club.

“It’s been a tough experience – I’ve never been fired from a job – but one that I knew would come eventually,” McCarthy said via email last week. “I’ve been exploring options to continue playing as well as moving on.”

McCarthy, 29, was a versatile right-hander in the Red Sox farm system, going back and forth from starter to reliever. He leaves with a 28-27 record and 4.57 ERA.

This offseason, McCarthy is again busy with Baseball Miracles, an outreach program that brings baseball and goodwill to impoverished areas in the United States and abroad. He has been to Iceland, Ireland and Norway, as well as Lee County, Kentucky.

McCarthy isn’t sure he’ll pitch again, but he has other options. In his last few years with the Sea Dogs, McCarthy completed a masters’ degree in business administration online.

“This is the moment I am reminded of how valuable my education is,” he said.

KEN JOYCE IS back in baseball, becoming the hitting coach for the Charleston (South Carolina) River Dogs, the New York Yankees’ Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.

Joyce, a Portland native who got his first pro job with the Sea Dogs back in 1996, had been a hitting coach in the San Francisco Giants’ organization for six years, including five with Double-A Richmond.

Just before he was to begin another season in Richmond last April, Joyce resigned, saying he wanted to be back in Portland with his family. At the time Joyce said he would consider returning to baseball.

And so he has.

HEIKER MENESES, an infielder who played parts of four seasons with the Sea Dogs (2011-14) could be back at Hadlock Field. Meneses, 25, signed with Boston after two years in the Twins organization, mostly in Double-A.

OTHER FORMER Sea Dogs are bouncing around, signing minor league contracts. Pitcher Stephen Fife joined the Marlins organization, catcher Ryan Lavarnway is now with Oakland, third baseman Garin Cecchini has moved on from the Brewers to the Royals, and Sean Coyle signed with the Orioles.

THE SMALL SAMPLE statistic for today is Rusney Castillo’s .392 batting average in the Puerto Rico winter league. In 14 games, he is 20 for 51. Castillo was removed from Boston’s 40-man roster last year. He is an expensive Triple-A outfielder, with four years and $46 million left on his contract.


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