The Orioles apparently have a new third baseman.
Robert Andino made his third straight start at the position Sunday despite never appearing in a major-league game at the hot corner.
Andino (pictured) rapped four hits in seven at-bats -- two homers -- in the two games preceding Sunday. However, Sunday saw him allow the ball to go in the outfield on the first grounder he saw at the position. Andino righted himself by notching a 5-3 grounder the next batter. Alas, at the plate he was hitless in four trips to the plate, dropping him to a .267/.290/.567 mark in 31 plate appearances.
That mark is quite an improvement over his .222/.274/.288 line in 215 plate appearances in 2009. Andino spent the bulk of the year playing short for Triple-A, collecting a .264/.302/.405 line in 588 PA. He was acquired from the Marlins prior to the 2009 season and brings value with the glove.
"I think the athletic set is impressive," manager Buck Showalter said of Andino to the Baltimore Sun . "I want to see other parts of the game challenge him."
Andino replaced Josh Bell at third. The hot prospect, acquired last season for reliever George Sherrill, has not found the bigs to his liking after a Triple-A promotion earlier in the season.
That doesn't mean that the 23-year-old is buried on the depth chart and no longer a part of the future, Showalter notes.
"We're giving Andino some opportunities that Josh got, and Josh will get to play some more," he said.
Bell is hitting .214/.224/.310 for the O's after bashing Triple-A for an .810 OPS and is in the lineup Friday night against the Red Sox.
-- Evan Brunell
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