BOSTON — The Baltimore Orioles had yet to post their lineup Monday at Fenway Park, but Ryan Flaherty did not have expectations of facing left-hander (and former Vanderbilt teammate) David Price.

“I would think not,” said Flaherty, the Orioles’ left-handed hitting utility player, who has a career .186 batting average against lefties.

Flaherty, 29, a Portland native in his fifth year with the Orioles, has yet to bat against Price in the regular season. But Flaherty used to face Price often – in intrasquad games at Vanderbilt.

That was in 2006 and 2007, when the powerful Commodores featured Price, Flaherty and corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, who signed with the Orioles last month.

Monday marked the first time the three Vandy All-Americans were on the same field since June 4, 2007, when Michigan upset the top-seeded Commodores in an NCAA regional. Alvarez homered in that game and Flaherty had a sacrifice fly, but Price, pitching on two days’ rest, relieved and gave up a 10th-inning home run.

“That was a bad day,” Flaherty said. “But playing with those guys in college, it was just a special group, not just from a talent standpoint but character … lot of good people on that team.”


Flaherty was thrilled to see Baltimore sign Alvarez, his former roommate and a good friend. Neither was in the lineup against Price, though Flaherty pinch hit in the ninth inning of a 9-7 win, facing Boston’s right-handed reliever Craig Kimbrel. Flaherty swung at the first pitch – a 97 mph fastball – and shattered his bat in a groundout to first.

Though Flaherty’s numbers against left-handers aren’t stellar, there’s another statistic that will likely have him in the lineup Tuesday and/or Wednesday. Flaherty is batting .375 (27 for 72) with nine extra-base hits at Fenway.

“He loves to play baseball and he loves to play here,” said Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette. One of Duquette’s first moves was acquiring Flaherty in December 2011, via the Rule V draft.

“He’s a versatile defender and he has some power,” Duquette said. Indeed, Flaherty has played every infield spot and both corner outfield positions. He’s appeared in only two of Baltimore’s six games this year.

“Just grinding it out,” Flaherty said, staying ready for when he’s needed. “That’s all you can do. Just try to help the team win.”

Flaherty shined in spring training, batting .333 with a .973 OPS.


“Us utility guys need to bring their A-game to spring training,” he said. But Flaherty is also seen as a prime-time player.

“He’s probably been one of our best postseason players, which is pretty impressive considering the cast of characters on this team,” said Orioles broadcaster Mike Bordick, the Maine native who played for the University of Maine and, later, the Orioles.

“Buck (Showalter, Baltimore’s manager) isn’t afraid to put him into any kind of situation, especially high-leverage situations at the end of the ballgame.”

In four postseason series, Flaherty is batting .281/.830, including a 1-for-3 effort at Detroit in 2014, against Price. Overall, Bordick said, Flaherty “has been a little inconsistent with the bat. But a super utility guy … brings incredible value with his glove.”

So Flaherty, who got a salary bump to $1.5 million this season, seems secure.

And that’s a good thing – since he just got engaged, with a wedding set for December.


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