SARASOTA, Fla. — Orioles infielder Robert Andino was among the position players who reported to camp in Sarasota early Monday morning.
Andino, who shined in a utility role last season, set career highs in hits (120), homers (5) and RBIs (36), predominantly served as a quality stopgap at second base for injured starter Brian Roberts.
With Roberts’ concussion symptoms still lingering, Andino enters camp as a key figure. If Roberts can’t play, he’s the leading candidate to start at second base on Opening Day.
“My focus is just to be ready,” Andino said Monday morning. “Whatever the boss says to do, I’m going to do. I’m just here trying to help the team win. So whatever I’ve got to do, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m just here to get ready.”
Whether he’s at second base on Opening Day or not, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said Andino will play an important role on the team as a utility player. He played second, shortstop, third and even some spot time in the outfield last year.
“Hey man, just having a spot in the roster is all I wanted, to help the team win any kind of way,” Andino said. “In a perfect world, we all know we don’t live in one. Got to do whatever you’ve got to do. That’s it. I’m just coming in here trying to get ready for the season and help the team win.
“I don’t care what I do. I just want to help the team win. Whatever I do, I don’t care. I’ll catch. I’ll give [Matt] Wieters a day or two.”
Andino will be most known for his game-winning hit in the Orioles’ regular-season finale against Boston, a extra-inning, walk-off hit that knocked the Red Sox from playoff contention.
“It was written like that,” Andino said. “That’s how it was supposed to go down for us. That’s how it goes, I guess.”
Asked if he watched that at-bat during the offseason: “I know my kids played it a few times, but after that, I haven’t seen it in a while. I go back home, I get too caught up in the kids. I turn into daddy daycare when I get home. I don’t have time for anything when I get home.”