Infielder Robert Andino – who is back with the Orioles as a nonroster invitee -- enjoyed the best years of his major league career in Baltimore, so he always hoped for an eventual reunion with the organization.

"I kept it in the back of my mind," he said. "You never know in this game. It's real exciting and it's a blessing to be back. It took long enough, but I'm just happy to be back."

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Andino is a fan favorite for the role he played in the Orioles' success in the final month of the 2011 season – which culminated with his game-winning hit over the Red Sox in Game 162 that helped knock Boston out of playoff contention on the regular-season's final day.

And while he's most remembered for that hit – which has been dubbed by Orioles fans as  "The Curse of the Andino" – Andino is grateful for the opportunity the Orioles gave him.

Orioles bring back familiar face with minor league signing of Robert Andino

The O's announce the return of former infielder Robert Andino, signing the 32-year-old to a minor league deal with a major league spring training invitation.

"Oh yeah, man," Andino said. "My first time here in '09, Buck gave me a chance to show what I can do. I'm from Miami, but Baltimore's always my home. I always have a special place for Baltimore."

Andino played with the Orioles from '09 through '12, making 124 starts between second base, shortstop and third base in 2011. He played mostly at second in 2012, making 96 of his 107 starts that season before he was traded to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Trayvon Robinson the following offseason.

Andino was away from the team on Sunday dealing with a family matter, but was back in camp on Monday playing second base, shortstop and third base with the Orioles' starters.

Early notes from Monday's Orioles spring training workout in Sarasota

Early notes from Monday's Orioles spring training workout in Sarasota

"I told Buck to put me everywhere," he said. "Put me in the outfield. I'm going to see if I can steal somebody's first baseman's mitt somewhere. Just whatever I've got to do, try to play in October, that's what it's all about. Whatever I've got to do to help the team win, I'm here."

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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