Andino in limbo after Lugo deal
Reserve IF out of options with O's; roster deadline Sunday
TAMPA, Fla. -- Robert Andino isn't going to lie. The trade that sent Julio Lugo from the Cardinals to the Orioles has been on his mind ever since teammate Ty Wigginton told him of the then-pending transaction Thursday morning.
"I'll be honest, I'm a little irritated," Andino said of the move, which will likely cost him his spot on the 25-man roster and possibly in the organization altogether.
"I can't really do anything. But it's going to be in my head. It was in my head all game [Thursday]. I'm not stupid; I know it's me or him. And right now, I'm feeling like I might be the guy left out."
A 34-year-old veteran, Lugo officially arrived in the Orioles clubhouse on Friday morning and said he was excited about the opportunity Baltimore presented.
"I'm just going to come here and do my best," he said. "I like to play, I'm fine. I'm happy [the Cardinals] found a way to do it and I'm happy that I'm here."
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Lugo's acquisition will give the team versatility in the middle infield spots, a role Andino had been playing for most of the spring. The 25-year-old Andino was acquired from the Marlins on April 1 last year, and is out of options, meaning he would have to clear waivers before being sent to the Minors. Knowing that, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said Thursday the Orioles have several balls up in the air concerning Andino, although trading him appears to be the most logical option.
"We will see how that plays out," MacPhail said. "We still have some moving pieces, and we will see how that shakes out here in the next week."
With the exception of the Yankees and Red Sox -- who open on Sunday night -- Major League Baseball teams must have their 25-man rosters set by 3 p.m. ET on Sunday. That deadline has now become a waiting game for Andino, who remains in limbo.
"It is what it is," Andino said. "I understand that this is a business."
The team's primary backup for shortstop Cesar Izturis, Andino is batting .235 in 23 games entering Friday and, despite several defensive miscues, said he has been satisfied with his play this spring. Lugo was slowed by a groin injury, but managed to hit .240 in 10 games at Cardinals camp. He said on Friday that his groin issue wasn't a big deal and he feels fine now.
While corner infielder Wigginton has seen some time at second base this spring, Lugo will add a level of security for Trembley behind Brian Roberts. Expected to be the O's Opening Day second baseman, Roberts played in three consecutive games prior to Wednesday, with no reported issues concerning the herniated disc in his lower back. But Baltimore's grueling opening schedule -- which includes 16 consecutive games -- dictates the necessity for another middle infielder.
"I'm aware that he's hurt, but I know he's the second baseman here," Lugo said of Roberts. "I think Dave's going to try to get me some playing time."
In 10 Major League seasons, Lugo has a .271 batting average (1,213-for-4,473) with 80 home runs and 452 RBIs. In 1,208 games, Lugo has a .965 career fielding percentage.
He's owed $9 million this season, and he has a $9 million vesting option for 2011 that's unreachable because he hasn't compiled the necessary plate appearances since 2007. The Red Sox are on the hook for all of Lugo's 2010 salary, meaning the Orioles, like the Cardinals, will pay him the league minimum of $400,000.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.