Orioles second baseman Robert Andino felt good after his first rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Norfolk, according to Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Andino is eligible to return from the disabled list Tuesday and could rejoin the team in New York.
"[Andino had] some normal stiffness and soreness from not playing for a couple of weeks, but [Norfolk manager Ron Johnson] asked him about coming out of the game in the seventh or eighth inning. He goes 'No I'm fine. I'm gonna finish,'" Showalter said. "He played well and moved around well."
"Not necessarily. We'll see how [Monday's game] goes," Showalter said. "We got options. Obviously if everybody down there and, most importantly, Robert feels like he's fine and ready go, it would present itself as an option for [Tuesday].
"You'd like to see him just have a couple games that he plays and he feels OK the next day. That's the big thing."
Andino hit off of a tee Friday and took batting practice with the Orioles Saturday and Sunday before joining Norfolk. The injury was originally expected to sideline Andino for three to four weeks, but he has progressed faster than anticipated.
Showalter said he planned to call Johnson after Monday's game before making any decisions.
Andino's return could create an interesting roster situation. The Orioles could designate Omar Quintanilla for assignment, but he has been hot since the Orioles acquired him July 20. Quintanilla came into Monday's contest with a .423 average and one home run in nine games while filling in for Andino at second base.
Another option is to take Ryan Flaherty off the 25-man roster. Since Flaherty is a Rule 5 pick, the Orioles would have to offer him back to the Cubs for $25,000. Rule 5 picks must remain on the major league roster for the entire year or they are automatically offered back to their original team. In 59 games, Flaherty is batting .209 with 11 RBIs.
Of course, if Thome ends up on the DL, that would make room for Andino without designating Quintanilla or risking the loss of Flaherty.