SARASOTA, Fla. -- When Ryan Flaherty was greeted with a handshake by former Oriole Mike Bordick in the team's clubhouse on Monday, Flaherty was all smiles -- and for good reason.
For one, the 25-year-old Flaherty had been informed by Orioles manager Buck Showalter he had made the roster and would break camp with the team for the first time in his professional career. Secondly, the native of Portland, Maine, knew Bordick -- who went to high school in Winterport -- was the only other resident of his state who had ever made the Major Leagues.
"Coming up and growing up in Maine, I think you're always having to [deal with] ... people who say, 'Oh, you aren't going to make it.' So you have to play with your chip on your shoulder," said Flaherty, who was a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Cubs organization in December. "[Shaking Bordick's hand] means a lot -- especially coming from him. I think he's the only position player to make it from the whole state of Maine to play in the big leagues. So having him here, it means a little more. It's pretty special. It was a moment you wait a long time to get told [that you made the roster]."
The annual Rule 5 Draft, which is held at the Winter Meetings, allows teams to select certain Minor Leaguers who have been left off other clubs' 40-man rosters for $50,000. Those eligible players -- ones signed at age 19 or older who have remained in the organization for at least four years or those signed at age 18 or younger who have been in the organization for at least five years -- must stay on the selecting squad's 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000.
The 25-year-old Flaherty was a first-round sandwich pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, and he batted .280 with 19 homers last year between Double-A and Triple-A. The left-handed-hitting Flaherty said he's comfortable playing wherever he's needed -- infield or outfield -- and acknowledged it's been a whirlwind of a winter in switching organizations.
"It's been great," said Flaherty, who batted .232 with two doubles, two triples and a home run in 54 at-bats this spring. "It's been a great spring, I know that for sure. And [it's been] a lot, you go from being left unprotected to being taken by a team, all the way up to this point. ... To be able to play in the big leagues has been a dream since I was a kid. So, it's just a special moment, for sure."
Flaherty called his dad, Ed, who is in his 26th season as the head baseball coach at the University of Southern Maine.
"I had to run out for batting practice, so I just sent him a text message," Flaherty said. "[I've] got to call him after batting practice."