Flarerty HR gives Orioles win over Jays
SARASOTA, Fla. — Game-ending home runs in spring training are not a big deal. However, Ryan Flaherty enjoyed his.
A year ago, Flaherty was a Rule 5 draft choice of the Baltimore Orioles, and he stayed with the team the entire season, and even hit a home run 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 the utility man’s versatility. He came to the plate with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning, and hit a three-run homer to give the Orioles an 11-10 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.
“Everyone knows the games don’t mean anything, but at the same time, everyone is competing, everyone is trying, so it always feels good every time you do something good,” Flaherty said.
During the regular season, the atmosphere would have been electric. In spring training, it’s anything but.
“Right before, the umpire and the catcher were sitting there joking, ’hey it’s 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth and you can hear a penny drop in here.’ 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 lead-off home run in the first in his two innings. He allowed 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 2 1-3 innings. He struck out four.
Hammel wants to build up his stamina before Apr. 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 think I want to be ready to go when the season starts,” Hammel said.