05/09/12 9:01 PM ET
Utility player Flaherty tries catcher on for size
By Greg Luca / MLB.com
At about 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, with just a few Orioles on the field for some early warmups, Flaherty took on the role of catcher.
Manager Buck Showalter has joked this season that the Orioles have an emergency catcher on the roster but never revealed who he had in mind. Flaherty said he could be that guy.
"I talked to [bench coach John Russell] about it a little bit, and he just said he wanted to work with me just in case of emergency," Flaherty said. "I feel like I could go back there in the case of emergency and try to help."
Comfortable at every position except pitcher -- "I don't think you want to see me get on the mound, I think it would be trouble," Flaherty joked -- Flaherty started in left field on Wednesday night.
Showalter raved about Flaherty on Tuesday, saying the 25-year-old likely would have made the roster independent of his Rule 5 status. Showalter even said that Flaherty would probably get a shot to be an everyday player.
"Whatever role I'm in, I'm just trying to help this team win and play good baseball," Flaherty said. "It's to the point now, I think, over the last couple of years I've played a lot of positions, so I feel pretty comfortable with whatever it is."
As good as he feels everywhere in the field, the Rule 5 Draft pick's bat is yet to come alive at the plate. Flaherty has only four hits -- all singles -- in his first 26 at-bats.
"I'm just trying to have productive at-bats," Flaherty said. "Trying to get on base and help this team, and the rest will take care of itself. That will come over time."
Orioles add Tolleson to roster, option Phillips
BALTIMORE -- Norfolk utility player Steve Tolleson had his contract selected to give the Orioles extra depth in the infield, with pitcher Zach Phillips returning to Triple-A to make room on the 25-man roster, the team announced Wednesday.
Tolleson is batting .265 with 11 RBIs in 26 games for Triple-A Norfolk, and manager Buck Showalter said Tolleson has the ability to play second base, third base, shortstop and either corner outfield spot.
"We feel like he serves a need we have," Showalter said. "He's probably swinging the bat as well as anybody they've got down there. I was impressed with him in the spring, and I think as the week develops it'll reveal itself a little bit more to why this is happening in the sequence it's happening."
Tolleson started the Tides' game on Wednesday in Louisville but was pulled after one at-bat to make the trip to Baltimore. Showalter said Tolleson got on a plane around 4 p.m. ET.
With Ryan Flaherty slated to start in left field before Wednesday's rainout, Tolleson gives the Orioles the versatile presence off the bench that Flaherty usually provides.
Because Opening Day starter Nolan Reimold is still on the disabled list and fourth outfielder Endy Chavez is sitting to rest a sore oblique muscle, Flaherty and Tolleson could see increased playing time.
"We have a need for Stevie," Showalter said. "There were some people to pick from, so it wasn't clear cut. But for what our needs are right now we wanted to go with Stevie."
Showalter added that Chavez was available if needed Wednesday, but his status would likely become clearer in the next day or two.
"Last night before the game he said it's the best he's felt," Showalter said. "The last at-bat he felt it a little bit."
Phillips had his contract selected on Tuesday to provide relief for an Orioles bullpen that was still recovering from Sunday's 17-inning game against Boston.
He entered in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 10-3 loss to the Rangers, recording only two outs while giving up two runs on three hits and two walks, including the third of Josh Hamilton's four home runs.
Orioles announce 'Birdland Passport' program
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles unveiled their new "Birdland Passport" program on Wednesday.
Fans who make trips to Camden Yards and each of the Orioles' five Minor League affiliates -- the Norfolk Tides, Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys, Delmarva Shorebirds and Aberdeen IronBirds -- will be eligible to win a trip for two to Sarasota, Fla., for O's Spring Training in 2013.
Fans who visit at least five destinations will receive a free Birdland Roadtrip T-shirt.
"The program is designed to encourage our fans to frequent not only Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but also all of our Minor League affiliates' ballparks, which are all within a short drive from Baltimore," Orioles director of communications Greg Bader said in a release. "Baseball is the most affordable sport and is the perfect family outing. We hope the Birdland Passport prompts fans to visit each of this region's great ballparks."
Those interested in participating can pick up a passport or stamp at the Fan Assistance Center in the Warehouse at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Passports and stamps will also be available at the fan assistance centers of each of the Minor League affiliates.
Taylor Teagarden on Wednesday was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Tolleson on the 40-man roster. Teagarden, who was projected to be Baltimore's backup catcher, has been out of action since spring with a lower back injury. Showalter said on Wednesday that Teagarden received a third epidural and feels the best he's felt in some time. The team sent Teagarden home for a few days off, and he is expected back in Sarasota, Fla., within a day or two.
Orioles lefty Zach Britton will throw 45 pitches in an extended spring game on Thursday and remains on his normal recovery plan despite the fluctuations in Baltimore's pitching rotation, Showalter said Wednesday. Britton has been on the disabled list for the duration of the season with a left shoulder impingement. He is also slated to pitch May 15 and 21, which would make him eligible to begin a rehab assignment May 26.
Reimold, currently on the disabled list because of a bulging disc in his cervical spine, has been unable to receive an epidural because he is still recovering from an infection. Showalter said he hopes Reimold will either heal without the epidural or be able to receive it at some point in the next few days.
Greg Luca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.