With the return of Brian Roberts slated for Sunday night’s finale against the Yankees, a roster move will need to be made to make room for him. The tit for tat change would be to move Ryan Flaherty down to the minors.
Jun 29, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles second basemanRyan Flaherty
(3) hits a three-run home run in the third inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Defensively, he’s been solid all year, but first the first 8 weeks of the season he couldn’t buy a hit. Since returning from a stint at AAA, Flaherty has swung a hot bat. He had a three run home run and a single tonight, just to make the club’s decision a bit harder. It’s hard to part ways with such a hot bat, especially when the production from the 35 year old Roberts is a question mark with the injuries he’s faced in recent years.
The little we did see from Roberts this season was really exciting. Having both Roberts and Nate McLouth in an already potent lineup is downright scary. Adding the dimension of Roberts speed, and his ability to make solid contact would create even more opportunities to score runs. At the very least, it is good peace of mind for the O’s to be able to call upon Flaherty if needed.
The biggest concern is that a trip back to Norfolk may hurt Flaherty’s confidence. Certainly he returned from AAA better than ever, and another trip may not interrupt his streak at the plate. If Roberts can’t stay healthy, the Orioles will need to rely on Flaherty once more.
As I wrote this morning, injuries have been a struggle for this club, as they are for every team. Resiliency is what makes or breaks a club, and the Orioles have proven over the last year and a half that they can persevere and find ways to win. Losing Roberts in the first series of the year was devastating for a club that had missed him for the previous two seasons. But this team sits at just 2.5 games out of first place. (This despite the fact that many fans wanted Flaherty gone during his epic slump. Chase Utley, anyone?) The return of Brian Roberts should be a very positive one, and hopefully whatever happens with Flaherty will also work out for the best.