Orioles' Mahoney Hopes To Leave An Impression

SARASOTA, FLA.First baseman Joe Mahoney got off to a rough start at spring training. He fouled a ball off his right knee in an intrasquad game and limped to the clubhouse for treatment.

Fortunately for Mahoney, that incident didn't set the tone for the rest of his camp.
Mahoney had three hits and a stolen base in a March 5 exhibition game against the Red Sox. He won't be part of the 25-man roster on Opening Day, but he's trying to get noticed for more than his 6-foot-6 stature.

"He's good," manager Buck Showalter said. "He was our minor league player of the year and you can see it. He's what they look like. It was a fun day for him."

Mahoney has the highest vertical jump in the organization, but he didn't have hops after swinging at a Pedro Viola pitch and fouling the ball off the side of his knee.

The 24-year-old Mahoney was supposed to make the trip to Bradenton, Fla., for the exhibition opener against the Pirates, but Showalter removed him from the travel roster. He cut short a batting practice session because of discomfort in the knee, but he made a swift recovery.

"Missed the knee cap," Mahoney said, showing off the red mark on the inner part of his knee. "I'm just happy I didn't fall to the ground."

Mahoney, a sixth-round pick in 2007 out of Richmond, won the Brooks Robinson award as the Orioles' top minor league position player in 2010 after batting .299/.358/.465 with nine homers at high Class A Frederick, and .319/.378/.545 with nine homers at Double-A Bowie. He might be assigned to Bowie again in April because Brandon Snyder is expected to play first base at Triple-A Norfolk, but he could be on the move again later in the summer.

Right now, he looks pretty comfortable in Sarasota, especially without the limp.

The Orioles have a new coaching staff, "and this lets them get to know me as a player and a person, so if they ever need anyone during the season, hopefully I'm on their short list," Mahoney said. "I'm just trying to get acclimated to the major league pitching and stuff like that. The lifestyle's obviously different here than it is in minor league camp."

Bird Seed

• The Orioles remain confident that righthander Matt Hobgood, their first-round pick in 2009, won't need surgery on his right shoulder. Hobgood might not pitch until June because of a strained rotator cuff.

• Righthander Mitch Atkins, signed to a minor league contract, has been sidelined with a sore left oblique. Atkins wasn't able to pitch during the first week of games.