By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun
9:14 PM EDT, June 12, 2012
Robert Andino, who has played second base in 56 of the Orioles' first 60 games, was out of the lineup Tuesday, as Brian Roberts returned from the 60-day disabled list. And Andino said he's OK if he's no longer the starter there.
"Whatever I've got to do to fit in, that's what I'm here for," said Andino, who has basically been the Orioles' starting second baseman since Roberts was sidelined with concussion symptoms on May 16, 2011. "[Roberts] is a veteran. He knows what he's doing. I think he'll be fine. … We'll all be fine."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he spoke with Andino on Tuesday to again discuss Andino's importance to the team and his role as a super-utility player. He'll get playing time at second, short, third base and in the outfield.
"The good thing about Robert is he's established himself. He doesn't have to look over his shoulder. I'll always be looking for way to get him involved in our team," Showalter said. "I don't think we've seen the last of Robert Andino, I can tell you that. I've got a long memory of what he's done for us. He's established what he can do to contribute here."
Roberts said he has spoken with his fellow infielder and, "He kept saying that, 'All I want to do is watch you play.' All he ever says is, 'You're my favorite player. I love watching you play. I want to see you play again.' That certainly makes things a lot easier."
Andino, who has hit .243 with a .295 on-base percentage in 58 games, seized his opportunity last year. And Roberts said he understands if he doesn't play as well as he should, Andino could be back at second base.
"We all know we're putting on the same jersey and trying to win games, and both of us are willing to do whatever that is," Roberts said. "We want [Showalter] to run out there whatever he thinks is the best defense. If two weeks from now that means Andino's playing second, I'm going to cheer him on and I'm sure he's going to do the same thing [Tuesday]."
Tolleson optioned; Reimold moved to 60-day DL
The Orioles optioned infielder Steve Tolleson to Triple-A Norfolk and moved Nolan Reimold from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Roberts on the 25-man and 40-man rosters Tuesday.
Tolleson batted .237 in 12 games for the Orioles. He had two homers and 6 RBIs in 38 at-bats, but his three-run homer on Sunday against Philadelphia Phillies ace Cliff Lee won't soon be forgotten by Orioles fans.
Reimold, who is on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his neck, has not played since April 30. He now cannot be activated until June 30, but he is still dealing with lingering weakness and has not done baseball activities, so he is still several weeks away from returning.
Orioles fire national crosschecker
Citing philosophical differences, the Orioles relieved national crosschecker Ron Hopkins of his duties Monday.
"I was my decision," amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich said. "He is a good baseball man and a good scout."
The timing will allow Hopkins time to catch on with another club while letting the Orioles look to fill the position sometime later this summer, Rajsich said. Both in-house and external candidates will be interviewed.
Hopkins, who did not return an immediate phone call seeking comment, joined the Orioles in 2011 after spending seven years with the Texas Rangers. This fall, he was considered a potential candidate for the Orioles' scouting director position before Rajsich was hired. While the Rangers' scouting director, Hopkins drafted several players currently with the Orioles' organization including Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Zach Phillips and Taylor Teagarden.
As a national crosschecker, it was Hopkins' responsibility to follow-up on area scouts' opinions of players for the amateur draft, which concluded last Wednesday.
Orioles signing draft picks
The Orioles are expected to announce double-digit amateur signings Wednesday, including their ninth-round pick, right-handed pitcher Brady Wager out of Grand Canyon University, who agreed to a $125,000 bonus, and 10th round pick, shortstop Joel Hutter of Dallas Baptist University for $10,000.
They also have agreed to terms with sixth-round pick Lex Rutledge, a left-handed pitcher out of Samford University, pending a physical. It's believed he will also sign in the neighborhood of the suggested slot, roughly $196,000.
Previously, the Orioles agreed with third-rounder Adrian Marin ($481,100) and eighth-rounder Torsten Boss, a third baseman from Michigan State University ($139,500) — although none have been officially announced.
Of the Orioles' top 10 selections, they have agreed to terms with five. They cannot negotiate with fourth-rounder Christian Walker and seventh-rounder Matthew Price, because both are playing for South Carolina in the College World Series.
The Orioles have begun negotiations with fifth-rounder Colin Poche, a high-school lefty, and second-rounder Branden Kline, a right-hander out of the University of Virginia. They expect to start talks with top pick, right-hander Kevin Gausman, this week. Gausman's LSU Tigers were eliminated from the national tournament Sunday.
The Orioles have until July 13 at 5 p.m. to sign their players.
Around the horn
The Orioles held a moment of silence before Tuesday's first pitch for former pitcher Dave Boswell, who died Monday. Boswell, a Baltimore native and Calvert Hall alumnus, pitched eight seasons in the majors, primarily with the Minnesota Twins. He finished his career by pitching 15 games for the Orioles in 1971. … Right fielder Nick Markakis had the stitches removed from his right hand. He is still weeks away from joining the team after hamate bone surgery. … Right-hander Matt Lindstrom (finger) threw from a flat mound on Tuesday in Sarasota. … The Orioles have not named a starter for Thursday or Saturday, but Tommy Hunter threw a normal bullpen session Tuesday, putting him in line for Thursday's start. … South Korean left-hander Seong-Min Kim pitched for Orioles scouts last month in Sarasota but remains unsigned. He originally agreed to a $500,000 contract in the offseason but it was voided by Major League Baseball. … The Orioles assigned RHP Jon Link to Short-A Aberdeen and Triple-A Norfolk activated LHP Rich Rundles.Orioles Insider | Live scores | Photos | Baseball app
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