The Orioles made some infield depth moves over the offseason and within the first month of the year that depth is going to be tested. Ryan Flaherty is the latest O's infielder to be bitten by the injury bug, suffering a right groin strain in the waning moments of Wednesday's loss to the Blue Jays. Rey Navarro has been called up from Norfolk in his place.
Navarro, 25, spent parts of eight minor league seasons with the Diamondbacks, Royals, and Reds organizations before the O's gave him a major league deal this past offseason. They optioned him to Norfolk during spring training, but he still has one of those all-important 40-man roster spots and that makes him the next contestant on The Price is Right as infielders keep coming up lame.
In his minor league career, Navarro has batted a combined .265/.313/.377, which squarely puts him in light-hitting middle infielder territory, although in 65 games with Louisville in the International League last year he batted .296/.351/.409. That's more interesting. He's played shortstop the most in his minor league career, and also has a lot of time at second base and some third base experience.
His first appearance with the O's will be his major league debut. Good luck! Navarro will be wearing #43.
It'd have been tough to imagine a month ago that two weeks into the season we'd be regretting the absence of Flaherty, but here we are. He was even batting .300/.400/.600 through his nine games of action so far.