Looking back at yesterday’s interview with executive vice president Dan Duquette, I find myself again trying to read between the lines without straining my eyes.
Duquette isn’t going to reveal much to reporters. He downplayed interest in Wei-Yin Chen on at least three occasions this winter, saying that he didn’t know much about the Taiwanese pitcher. He wasn’t going to admit that the Orioles had scouted Chen for years in anticipation of the left-hander becoming a free agent and moving to the U.S.
Duquette didn’t provide a clear response yesterday when asked whether the Orioles were done shopping for starters.
“We can have some of our pitchers here and some of them in the minors ready to win for us later. And we have some pitchers who have been starters who can be considered for bullpen roles. There are a lot of different things that you can do with good pitchers,” Duquette replied.
“We’re going to continue to build the team. I don’t know that I can tell you where our focus is right now.”
I have no idea where they’d fit another starter without trading at least one from their surplus, but we’ll see how it plays out.
This team still needs a bat. I haven’t forgotten.
Robert Andino called into “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” yesterday and said he’d have no problem being a utility player next season.
“No, not at all,” he said. “Just to have a roster spot and be on the team, that’s a real blessing. If they want to put me utility, second base, third, left ... I even told them I could catch a few innings if I had to.”
If Andino could play 162 games at one position, which one would he choose?
“To tell you the truth, to play 162, I’ll play anywhere,” he replied. “I’ll play anywhere for 162.”
Andino can thank manager Buck Showalter for whatever opportunities he receives with the Orioles. Not everyone in the organization was sold on him, one hint being that he was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk in spring training 2010. He appeared to have no future here, but Showalter wanted to make his own judgment, which led to Andino’s return to the majors and a more prominent role in 2011.
“He told me he had to trust me,” Andino said. “He told me I had to gain his trust and that’s what I just tried to do, gain his trust. He put trust in me to put me out there and I’m glad for that. I’m not going to let him down. That’s why I’m going to try to do better than last year.”
Andino was asked how he could improve next season. Showalter should be pleased with Andino’s first response.
“My bunting was horrible last year. I need to work on my bunting,” he said. “Speed, the glove, hitting every part of the game. You’ve got to expect yourself to get better. You can’t be satisfied where you’re at or where you’ve been. You’ve got to try to move forward.”
There’s nothing wrong with looking back at the final game and Andino’s walk-off single against Jonathan Papelbon that provided the highlight of the 2011 season.
How many times has Andino watched the replay?
“I know I looked at it a few times, but I’ve been too busy running around with the kids and all that. But I’ve seen it a few times,” he said. “My kids put it on a couple times. They like looking at it.”
Andino also was reminded of his bare-handed catch in Minnesota.
“That was more of a reaction play, and after I caught it, I asked myself, ‘What did I just do?’ Andino said. “I was just glad that I caught it, because if I had dropped it, it would have been pretty embarrassing.”