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Flaherty's versatility may land him roster spot

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Ryan Flaherty homered for the second time this spring on Sunday afternoon, as the 26-year-old continues an impressive spring fighting for one of the Orioles' final roster spots.

"He's doing the things to put himself in the position to make it," manager Buck Showalter said of Flaherty, the organization's Rule 5 Draft pick last year. "You guys can tell he's got a little different sureness to his step. He knows the level and what's expected and he's playing like a very confident player right now, I think defensively and everything he's doing.

"He's not a Rule 5 guy that we didn't know that walked into camp. He did well last year. Whether he was a Rule 5 Draft pick or not, last year he would have made our club. So, we will see where it takes us. Proud of the way he came in, I think winter ball, it was good for him."

Flaherty played in the Dominican Winter League, following a solid finish for the Orioles down the stretch, and is batting .286/.375/.667 in 11 spring games.

"The time you're kind of down there, you don't realize it, but coming to camp, you feel a little more comfortable at the plate," he said of the extra at-bats. "It's definitely helped."

Flaherty -- who platooned at second base in the playoffs last year -- is in one of the more interesting camp battles because he could make the team even with a healthy Brian Roberts and Alexi Casilla slated for a bench spot. A left-handed hitter who can play the corner outfield and every infield spot, Flaherty -- the team's emergency catcher -- could back up first baseman Chris Davis and be a fifth outfielder, which assumes that Nolan Reimold, dealing with right shoulder soreness, is able to play defense.

Given that he's been in the organization for a year, Flaherty has options remaining and could also be sent down to the Minor Leagues without having to go on waivers,

"Ryan can be an everyday player at some point. I'm not going to use his versatility against him," Showalter said. "It's an asset. An asset for us as a team, but also he's a guy that can man down a position for us or somebody for a long time."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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