With Izturis Sidelined, Andino To Fill In At Short

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He Will Become Starter There

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June 07, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

OAKLAND, Calif. - -With Cesar Izturis headed to the disabled list after having an emergency appendectomy Friday night, the Orioles are prepared to go with Robert Andino as their starting shortstop for the next several weeks.

Infielder Oscar Salazar's contract will be selected today from Triple-A Norfolk as the roster replacement for Izturis, though he would be used at shortstop only on an emergency basis. That leaves Andino, 25, acquired from the Florida Marlins in the spring training trade for Hayden Penn, as the only shortstop on the Orioles' roster.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said the club has looked at other available shortstops on the waiver wire, and he didn't rule out the team making another roster move, but he didn't seem overly optimistic.

"It's just a very premium position," Trembley said. "There are a lot of teams in need of a guy who can play there on a regular basis and catch the ball. Right now, we'll go with Andino. ... All I want to see him do is make the routine play on a consistent basis. He'll get an opportunity to play. It would be nice if he took advantage of it and gave us something on a consistent basis."

While excited to get an opportunity to play every day, something he never got with the Marlins, Andino acknowledged that he has mixed feelings about the situation.

"I don't want nobody to get hurt," said Andino, who made his 13th start Saturday and was hitting .239 with three RBIs. "Izturis is one of the guys that I look up to, but I'm ready to accept the challenge. I'm just going to try and help this team win and have fun. I'm not trying to put all this pressure on myself."

Izturis underwent a successful laparoscopic appendectomy at California Pacific Medical Center on Friday. He remained in the hospital Saturday but is expected to travel home with the team after today's game. Trembley said Izturis, eligible to come off the disabled list June 19, will be out at least "two to three weeks."

At Norfolk, Salazar, 30, was batting .372 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs.

Injuries affecting decisions

When the Orioles decided to release Jamie Walker on Friday, they summoned Alberto Castillo from Norfolk. He became the obvious choice when Double-A Bowie left-hander Wilfrido Perez (1.61 ERA in 19 games) came down with a sore left elbow, an injury that will likely force him to the minor league DL.

Norfolk second baseman Justin Turner (.301, one homer, 20 RBIs) was considered when it became clear that Izturis needed to go on the DL, but he's dealing with a sore right wrist. Shortstop Blake Davis, who was considered the Orioles' most major league-ready shortstop on the farm, fractured his foot in a nonbaseball injury this spring and resumed baseball activities only in the past couple of days.

Worth a tryout

It's still probably too early to tell whether the Orioles will be serious players in the Miguel Angel Sano sweepstakes, but they appear to be at least considering it. Sano, a 16-year-old shortstop who will be one of the most coveted international free agents when the signing period begins July 2, was part of a group of 40 players the Orioles worked out Friday at their Dominican Republic baseball academy.

Asked on Friday about the tryout and Sano in particular, Orioles director of player development David Stockstill said: "We tried him out, and we were very impressed with what we saw. We were happy to have the opportunity to do it."

Sano is expected to command a bonus as high as $4 million when he signs a pro contract. The Orioles haven't given out a bonus to an international free agent worth more than $600,000 over the past decade and have never paid $1 million or higher.

Sano has attracted interested from a number of teams. The Pittsburgh Pirates are reportedly a favorite to sign him.

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