Andino Goes Back To Fill-in Role At Shortstop

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

No Longer A Starter, Izturis' Backup Still 'Happy To Be Here'

July 12, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Robert Andino was back in the Orioles' lineup Saturday, this time as a fill-in starter at shortstop and not the regular he had been for the past five weeks.

That's fine with the 25-year-old, because he knew the situation when the Orioles traded Hayden Penn to the Florida Marlins for him this spring.

He came in as Cesar Izturis' backup, and that's his role again now that the veteran has returned from a June 5 appendectomy.

"Honestly, to have the opportunity I had, I am just happy to be here," Andino said. "Who knew I would have more than 100 at-bats at this point? I am grateful."

Andino had 144 at-bats in parts of four seasons with the Marlins. He had 142 with the Orioles in 2009 heading into Saturday.

He started 31 consecutive games from June 5 until Izturis was activated Friday.

"It was fun. It was a fun stretch," Andino said. "It was important because they got to see a little of me. And I am happy to get in there again."

He batted .232 with five doubles, a homer and eight RBIs in his first 48 games. But what impressed the club most was his slick fielding.

"I thought his defense was better than what we [originally] thought," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "We didn't get to see him that much in the spring. We got a nice player."

Andino said he believes he showed the Orioles - and everyone else - that he belongs in the majors.

"You always think you could have done better," he said. "But I think I held my own."

Reimold gets break

Rookie Nolan Reimold was out of the starting lineup Saturday after a rough start to July. He has a batting average and slugging percentage of .094 (3-for-32) this month after winning the American League Rookie of the Month award for June with a .320 average. He has no extra-base hits in eight July games.

"I think he's just pressing a great deal," Trembley said. "The process is people around the league have adjusted to him, and now he has to make some adjustments to what they're doing to him. I think you see how they're pitching him now. I think he'll be fine."

Trembley said Reimold will start today in the Orioles' first-half finale.

Mora's power outage

Melvin Mora entered Saturday's game in a career-high 51-game homerless skid. He had just two home runs this season and hadn't gone deep since May 7, a span of 184 at-bats, before his game-winning shot in the 12th inning Saturday.

But Trembley is still holding out hope that Mora turns it around.

"I'm still of the belief that Melvin is a second-half player, and I hope that takes place," Trembley said. "We certainly need him to drive in runs."

Mora had 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 87 first-half games last year and 12 homers and 56 RBIs in 48 second-half games. Throughout his career, however, his offensive splits are typically better in the first half.

Around the horn

Before Saturday's game, the Orioles held a moment of silence for Bert Simmons, a Negro leaguer who pitched for, among other teams, the Baltimore Elite Giants. Simmons died Wednesday at age 85. ... Reliever Chris Ray (biceps tendinitis) began his throwing program Saturday and will continue it at extended spring training in Sarasota, Fla. ... Lone Orioles All-Star Adam Jones was honored before Saturday's game with an on-field jersey presentation.

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