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03/31/08 6:45 PM ET

Orioles add Cintron to infield mix

Shortstop signs Minor League contract, will report to Norfolk

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles added another option to their muddled middle infield on Monday, when they signed shortstop Alex Cintron to a Minor League contract and assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk. Cintron is expected to provide organizational depth in case that neither Brandon Fahey nor Luis Hernandez can seize the shortstop job in Baltimore.

Cintron batted .243 for the White Sox last season and is a .277 career hitter in the big leagues. The 29-year-old has made his living as a utility player and has logged hundreds of innings at second base, shortstop and third base. Cintron hit a career-high 13 home runs and drove in 51 runs in 2003, but has mostly been a part-time player since then.

Hernandez and Fahey have been Baltimore's answer to Miguel Tejada, who was traded to Houston during the offseason. Neither Hernandez nor Fahey seized the job in Spring Training, but manager Dave Trembley tabbed the former player for Opening Day.

Neither Hernandez nor Fahey has ever held a starting infield job in the big leagues.

Cintron will play next to third baseman Mike Costanzo at Norfolk, and both should make it to the big leagues at some point during the season. In fact, Cintron, a switch-hitter, has played in the Majors in every season since 2001. The native of Puerto Rico has played in 598 big league games, drilling 32 home runs and and driving home 212 RBIs.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.