03/27/11 3:21 PM ET
Andino gets first taste of outfield
By Brittany Ghiroli and Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
"That's how baseball is," Andino chuckled after the Orioles' 9-5 loss at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Sunday.
At the plate, the 26-year-old middle infielder went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. On the field, it was a different story for Andino, who misplayed Rajai Davis' liner and struggled with several other balls hit his way -- one of which he eventually recovered on to make a leaping grab at the warning track.
But what can you expect? Andino hasn't played a game in the outfield since 2009, has only appeared in three Major League contests there, and besides some batting-practice shagging, he hasn't received much work as an outfielder this spring.
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Andino, who eventually played hitters extra deep to adjust to the wind blowing out, said Sunday was "fun" and "a good experience."
The Orioles had been wanting to play Andino in the outfield recently. He is out of options, and after a fine season in Triple-A Norfolk last season, he comes into camp competing for a reserve spot -- but faced with the reality that Baltimore has plenty of depth at shortstop and second base.
The Orioles already have Cesar Izturis -- owner of a $1.5 million guaranteed contract -- as a backup middle infielder, so they'd like Andino to expand his repertoire and show he can play the outfield to be more useful.
Sunday was Step 1 in that process.
"In a utility [role], you're more valuable if you play different positions," Andino said. "I play the infield, so now I get my name out there if they see I can play the outfield. So it makes me more valuable, I guess. I don't know. Wherever they tell me to play, I'm going to play it."
Guthrie ready for Opening Day start
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Whether it was a good Blue Jays lineup, hittable stuff or bad defense behind him -- and it was probably a combination of all three -- Jeremy Guthrie didn't seem at all concerned. All he knew after giving up four runs in five innings during his last Spring Training start was that he felt healthy enough and ready enough to start the regular season.
That would be Opening Day, on Friday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
"I feel right where I want to be," Guthrie said on Sunday, "ready to start the season and excited to start the regular season against Tampa -- a good team."
While throwing a spring-high 96 pitches in an eventual 9-5 loss at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Guthrie was hit around pretty hard and struggled with his command -- he gave up a Grapefruit League-high 12 hits while issuing a walk, a wild pitch and a hit batsman.
But he didn't get much help defensively, either.
There were a few misplays by Robert Andino in left field -- a natural infielder making his first spring appearance in the outfield -- a dropped liner by Cesar Izturis at shortstop, a muffed foul popup by Nolan Reimold in right field, and a poorly played grounder by second baseman Nick Green.
A positive: None of those in Sunday's split-squad lineup are expected to play behind Guthrie the next time he takes the mound.
"He's looking at it as just getting his work in," said bench coach Willie Randolph, acting as manager while Buck Showalter stayed in Sarasota, Fla., to play the Red Sox with the rest of the team.
"I think he threw the ball well. The ball was coming out of his hand good. The main thing is that he got out of here without any setbacks."
Guthrie threw nearly 40 pitches while giving up two runs in the first two innings, then yielded two more in the third on four hits -- including a two-run homer by Yunel Escobar. But Guthrie finished strong, retiring his last three hitters and stranding two runners in each of his last two frames.
Afterward, the 31-year-old right-hander found encouragement in finality, and a new beginning.
"You're happy to be healthy, happy to get your innings in and work on your pitches and have them feel good coming out," said Guthrie, who finished Spring Training with a 6.43 ERA in 14 Grapefruit League innings.
"Any time you have after the offseason, it's nice to come back and feel the ball coming out of your hand, and feel your pitches and make sure everything is back intact after five months off. I was able to feel that, and we're ready to rock and roll now."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.