Deering High grad Ryan Flaherty ended his eight-year major league career with the Cleveland Indians in 2019. Next year he’ll take on a new role as major league advance scout/development coach for the San Diego Padres. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

His last hit as a major leaguer was a double, in late September against a Washington Nationals team that went on to win the World Series.

Over the next few weeks, Portland native Ryan Flaherty went through some major life changes.

On Oct. 1, Flaherty became a father when his wife, Ashley, gave birth to their son, Ryan Jr. Shortly thereafter, A.J. Preller, general manager of the San Diego Padres, called to inquire about Flaherty’s availability not as a player but as a coach.

At age 33, having spent most of the previous season with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, Flaherty decided it was time to make the transition. So he flew to San Diego, met with Preller and new Padres manager Jayce Tingler.

“The way I left it with teams is that I’m healthy enough to play, but I was considering some other options,” Flaherty said. “I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do.”

Other organizations make inquiries. There was talk of managing in the minors or becoming a roving instructor. Flaherty spoke with the Padres’ new bench coach Bobby Dickerson and new first-base coach Wayne Kirby, both of whom had been with the Orioles during Flaherty’s first six years in the big leagues. Padres star third baseman Manny Machado broke in with the Orioles in 2012, same year as Flaherty, who came over from the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft and carved out a niche as a utility infielder and corner outfielder.


Last week, the Padres officially announced the hire. Correcting earlier reports that Flaherty would serve as a quality control coach, they described his new role as major league advance scout/development coach.

“It’s going to be a wide range of responsibilities,” Flaherty said. “It’s passing along information to the players and coaches, a lot of prep work for opposing teams coming up, some in-game duty. The GM has a lot of stuff he wants me to do.”

Flaherty played for Atlanta and Cleveland as well as the Orioles, appearing in 547 games over eight seasons and fielding every position save catcher and center field. He spent most of his time at second or third base and finished with 37 home runs and a career batting average of .215. He reached the postseason three times and batted a cumulative .265 with a memorable home run as a rookie in Yankee Stadium off Hiroki Kuroda in the American League Division Series.

Flaherty, who makes his home in Fort Lauderdale, is in town visiting family. He is scheduled to take part in a holiday baseball clinic on Dec. 29 at the University of Southern Maine along with his father, longtime Huskies coach Ed Flaherty, and members of the USM baseball team.

The Padres hold spring training in Peoria, Arizona, beginning in February, when Flaherty will learn more about his new duties. He does know that he will remain in uniform, but no longer need to wear spikes.

He also plans to tie up a few loose ends in order to earn his diploma from Vanderbilt University, where he spent three years and pursued a degree in Human Organizational Development. His academic coursework is complete. All that remains is to complete an internship.


“Not that I was ever a scholar student, but my family always preached the importance of education,” he said. “It would just be dumb for me not to do it.”

Flaherty maintains a daily workout schedule, but admits it feels odd not to add hitting and throwing to his routine.

“I don’t think I’ll miss playing, but it’s all I know,” he said. “It seems strange when I’ve played every summer since I was 9 years old.”

Flaherty isn’t the only Mainer in professional baseball who will be wearing a new uniform. Brian Butterfield, who grew up in Orono and lives in Standish in the offseason, followed Manager Joe Maddon from the Cubs to the Angels and will serve as third-base coach in California.

Ken Joyce, a Deering High grad and former USM player and assistant under Ed Flaherty, will be returning to the Eastern League for a fourth go-round, this time as hitting coach of the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate in Trenton, New Jersey. Joyce previously served as hitting coach for the Sea Dogs (when they were a Marlins affiliate), New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) and Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants).

“I’m excited to get back to the Eastern League,” said Joyce, now in his third season with the Yankees, who placed him with short-season Staten Island the past two summers and Surprise in the recent Arizona Fall League. “To be able to come back to Portland (Trenton visits the Sea Dogs three times) and sleep in your own bed is kind of a nice thing. Also, for me, it’s the best level of minor-league baseball.”

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