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Andino says spat with Yankees' Martin a misunderstanding

Second baseman not worried about possible retaliation from New York pitchers

By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

7:56 PM EDT, April 10, 2012

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Orioles second baseman Robert Andino said his war of words with New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin as Monday's game ended was simply miscommunication between two competitive people.

"Just heat of the moment, boys being boys," Andino said. "We had a few words, but nothing big."

In the bottom of the ninth, Martin apparently accused Andino of tipping pitch locations from second base after he doubled against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

"I guess so, but it was just a misunderstanding, I guess. Ain't nothing really," said Andino. "That's his job, he's a catcher. He has his own opinion, but it was nothing, really."

The two jawed at each other as they walked off the field, but the incident did not escalate. Asked before Tuesday's game whether he thought the Yankees might retaliate, Andino shrugged.

"I ain't a future teller, so I don't know," he said.

If he did get hit, Andino said, he would "just go to first."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that he thought the accusations were off base. And it didn't help against Rivera, who got a strikeout and a lineout with his trademark cutter to end the game.

"I know what I think right and wrong is in the sense of reality," Showalter said. "It's not exactly like Mariano is featuring a curveball and a changeup and a split. It certainly didn't work out that well if that was the case."

Tipping pitches or tipping locations is nothing new — it's something all teams keep an eye on, Showalter said.

"I think a lot of that goes on in baseball. I don't want to call it paranoia. It's something we're aware of when we're playing the teams like the Yankees and a few other teams," he said. "Anytime you have a lot of veteran players and guys who have played with each other for a while, it's something you look for from an advance-scout standpoint and during the course of a game.

"You know one of the ways you combat that? You pitch real well and don't allow anybody to get to second base. That's another thing that you can control."

Gregg gets in game

Right-hander Kevin Gregg, who has been displaced as the club's closer by Jim Johnson, got into his first game Monday, the Orioles' fourth of the season.

"I always want to play, everybody knows that," Gregg said. "If you're paid to pitch, you want to pitch. I'd pitch every day. I always want to pitch every day."

He entered in the seventh Monday and struck out Martin to end the inning. In the eighth, he loaded the bases on a single, walk and a hit batter but induced a double play to get out of the jam.

When Gregg entered the game Monday, there was very little reaction — a departure from Opening Day, when he was booed by the home crowd during introductions.

"To hear the boos, it's disappointing. But I try not to look at it as an entirety because I don't think it represents everybody," said Gregg, who was 0-3 with a 4.37 ERA and converted 22 of 29 save opportunities in 2011.

"It wasn't a great year, and I understand that. I'm not saying it was a good year, but I don't think it was as bad as people make it out to be," he added. "I think the way I was portrayed was being the scapegoat for a really bad season for all of us — we didn't win very many games, but that is the way [some fans] perceived it. The only thing I can do is go out there and pitch when they ask me to pitch. That's all I can do."

Wieters not sitting yet

Catcher Matt Wieters likely won't get a day off from behind the plate until Saturday or Sunday in Toronto, meaning he'll likely catch the team's first seven games.

"We might catch him on the off-day in Bowie, by God," Showalter quipped.

Showalter said he is always concerned about Wieters' workload, but the catcher is fresh and he wanted him to be behind the plate for each of the five starters' season debuts.

"We know how valuable he is, but we'd like to see him get a feel for all these guys," Showalter said.

Reserve Ronny Paulino will start Saturday night or Sunday afternoon in Toronto, depending on the matchups, Showalter said.

Around the horn

J.J. Hardy's first-inning homer Tuesday against New York's Freddy Garcia marked the fifth consecutive game in which the Orioles have homered in the first or second inning, dating to Opening Day on Friday. Nine of Hardy's 32 homers as an Oriole have come in the first inning. … Between 1 million and 2 million people in Taiwan were expected to tune into Tuesday's Orioles-Yankees game, which featured Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen making his major league debut. The game was broadcast live and started at 7 a.m. in Taiwan. … Loyola University men's basketball coach Jimmy Patsos, who led the Greyhounds to a 24-9 record and a NCAA tournament bid, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The Orioles have announced a fans' choice bobblehead promotion for Sept. 29. Fans can vote for one of the following Orioles to be featured that day: Mark Reynolds, Hardy, Tommy Hunter, Jake Arrieta or Andino. Fans can vote at orioles.com/bobblehead, the club's Facebook page or by text (instructions at the Orioles' site).

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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