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Flaherty makes magic for O's

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Flaherty makes magic for O's

Ryan Flaherty has spent the 2012 season dealing with the difficult task of learning how to be a part-time player. Hes been with the Orioles all year and served as a utility guy throughout, working in a number of different roles.But hes been finding more playing time in the past week. The door opened a bit after Robert Andino was hit in the head in Boston last week, and Flahertys taken advantage of that chance. He came through again Friday night, hitting a grand slam in the first inning and finishing with a career-high five RBI to help the Orioles to a 9-1 rout of the Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.Flaherty added an RBI double later to finish 2-for-4 with the five RBI. Hes helped the Orioles in several ways this year. Flaherty has played six different positions and his versatility gave the Orioles a lift at times.Hes come through at the plate in the last week after the Andino incident. Flaherty has gone 6-for-17 since then with two homers and eight RBI, all down the home stretch while the Orioles are trying to earn their first post-season berth in 15 years.It feels good, and I am glad I could help my team win, Flaherty said. Whatever that is, defense, offense and tonight it was with the bat. So it was good.Flaherty had problems at the start as he tried to make a bare-hand pick-up of Scott Podsedniks bunt to start the game. He couldnt finish the play and threw the ball away, letting Podsednik reach second and setting up a quick Boston run for a 1-0 lead.Flaherty made up for that in the bottom half. Chris Davis already had homered to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead against Boston starter Aaron Cook (4-12) before Baltimore loaded the bases with two outs. Flaherty came up and said that since Cook likes to throw sinkers, he was looking for something up in the zone.Thats just what he got on a 2-1 pitch, and Flaherty crushed it into the seats in right-center field to give the Orioles a 6-1 lead and break the game open very early.You dont know when opportunities are going to come, so when you do get a chance, anything you can do to help this team win this time of the year is good, Flaherty said.Flaherty also enjoyed it because hes from the New England area growing up in Maine and said that added some significance.Flahertys other RBI came in a three-run, four-hit sixth inning. He doubled to right-center to give the Orioles an 8-1 lead.Hes been here all year, Davis said. Hes been working hard, and its starting to pay off for him.Flaherty appeared to get some help after a rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk. He was out for much of August due to a bacterial infection and wound up playing nine games with Norfolk. Ron Johnson is the Tides' manager and hes been assisting the Orioles in recent days and said hes been very impressed with Flaherty.
I think he got a chance to play a little bit consistently at Norfolk, which is always good for players, Johnson said. The rehab might have turned out to be a blessing in disguise because he's got really good skills,and he's got a good swing and he's got good power. I know he's been in the big leagues all year but it's still tough for a young player who isn't playing regularly.Flahertys now been playing more regularly in the last week and became the latest hero of the night, which has been the Orioles' MO so far this season. Different night, different star. This time, it was Flaherty.
I had a couple opportunities the past couple days and didnt really cash in on it, Flaherty said. So I had a pitch to hit and put a good swing on it.

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Orioles' Manny Machado leading all American League shortstops in All-Star Game votes

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USA TODAY Sports

Orioles' Manny Machado leading all American League shortstops in All-Star Game votes

The Orioles' Manny Machado is the early leader among American League shortstops in the first results of All-Star voting released by Major League Baseball Tuesday.

Machado holds a lead of 110,131 votes over the Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor. 

No other Orioles' player is on the list, and Adam Jones isn't listed among the top-15 of outfielders. 

The Astros' Carlos Correa was last year’s starting shortstop for the American League, but is in fourth place with 206,707 votes, trailing the Yankees' Didi Gregorius who has 208,583.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 19.

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Zach Britton rejoins Orioles after stint on disabled list

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Zach Britton rejoins Orioles after stint on disabled list

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Orioles left-hander Zach Britton has been activated from the disabled list, six months after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Assuming he's finally healthy enough to resume his role as one of the best closers in the big leagues, the question now is: How long will Britton be with the Orioles?

Britton's contract expires after this season, and Baltimore entered play Monday with the worst record in the major leagues (19-45).

So, as he stood in front of his locker and spoke excitedly about his return to the Orioles, Britton conceded that his stay in Baltimore may not extend beyond the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"I want to pitch well and help the team, regardless of our standing or trade discussions," he said.

Asked if the next few weeks might serve as an audition for other teams, Britton replied, "I guess so, but I'm not going to think of it like that."

Britton made the 2016 AL All-Star team during a season in which he converted all 47 of his save opportunities and compiled a 0.54 ERA in 69 appearances.

He fought forearm and knee injuries last season and had only 15 saves. Then, during the winter, he tore his right Achilles tendon during a workout.

"When I injured myself in December, I was just looking forward to walking again and running again and then to be able to pitch back in the big leagues," Britton said. "There were a lot of hurdles that I overcame."

Surgery and an intense rehab program under Orioles trainer Brian Ebel enabled the 30-year-old to return sooner than many anticipated.

"The thought that he's a pitcher for us on June 11, that's remarkable," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's checked every box to get ready. I don't know what else you could possibly do."

Although Britton will be pitching for a team that's struggled mightily this season, that won't influence the intensity he will bring to the mound.

"I had some injuries the last few years, so I'm looking forward to turning the page on that and just getting back to pitching well," he said. "Everyone in this clubhouse wants to do well at this level, and that's my focus."

To adjust the roster for Britton's return, the Orioles placed right-hander Pedro Araujo on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow strain and moved outfielder Colby Rasmus to the 60-day DL.