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Andino takes sigh of relief; Showalter discusses roster moves

When infielder Robert Andino was summoned to Orioles' manager Buck Showalter's office earlier today, he was trying to stay relaxed. However, that became tougher when he got the news that he really wanted to hear.

"This is my third Opening Day, but to be honest, this feels like I really earned this one," said Andino who batted .278 this spring. "The other two was because somebody got hurt and I got traded. To be honest, I was just waiting to see what they were going to say and whatever they said, I would have went from there. I wasn't stressed or nothing, but fortunately, they said I was on the team. Really, I don't have no words for it. I am just proud of myself for one of the few times in my life.

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"With all the [stuff] I've been through, I just felt like I did something right in my life," he said.

Several players came over to congratulate Andino who has a rough exterior but is one of the more popular members of the club among his teammates. The first one to greet him was Cesar Izturis, who stands to lose some at-bats now that another utility infielder is on the roster. However, that didn't appear to be among his concerns as he extended his hand to Andino.

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The Orioles dropped their Grapefruit League finale 7-4 to the Toronto Blue Jays today. My game story is on the Web site so I don't feel the need to go into the details. However, here are some comments from manager Buck Showalter, mostly about the roster decisions that he made, which included the jettisoning of top pitching prospect Zach Britton, catcher Craig Tatum and infielder Brendan Harris.

On finishing up the spring at the remodeled Ed Smith Stadium: "You couldn't ask for a better environment for us to do what we had to get done. We owe that to ownership and the city of Sarasota. I don't think I have ever gone through a spring where a game wasn't rained out. I hope this bodes well for the season. I think everything we wanted to attack, we attacked. So we are ready for the bell to ring if we get through tomorrow."

On Britton: "I think he (was thankful) for the chance to come in, pitch and the opportunity we gave him to take the ball. He was impressive."

On Britton working on his secondary pitches: "He's made some real progress with some of his secondary stuff … We are certainly glad he is on our side."

On how Britton's contract situation affected the roster move, a question that Buck worked around like a leadoff walk: "I think Zach, there are some things he needs to fine tune. We sit down and evaluate where we are as a staff. We certainly aren't going to put him in the bullpen out of spring training. He'll go down and do his part and we'll see where he is down the road."

On Tatum: "What happens this time of year, they dwell so much on the finality on the 29th of March and not what could happen shortly, we'll see. When we get our rotation … where it kind of settles in and some things in our bullpen (settle) we will be tweaking some things as they go. But they don't really want to hear that right now. Craig did some good things for us last year and will get an opportunity again if he takes care of his end of the bargain."

Showalter did not rule out the possibility that either Bergesen or Matusz could start the season on the DL: "Bergesen or Matusz, we have to see how they feel tomorrow or the next day. Something could change real quickly with somebody who is not here today. We feel good about the majority. The percentages are on our side. Until we get through tomorrow I am not basically going to commit to that yet."

Showalter said that Bergesen will throw two or three innings against Orioles' minor leaguers tomorrow and Jake Arrieta could throw six innings. If Matusz hasn't improved by tomorrow, the club could opt to hold Arrieta back and then start him Saturday in Game Two of the season. That would give Matusz a couple of extra days to get ready for Monday's home opener.


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