So why is Andino batting leadoff? (Reimold to DL official)

BOSTON - That’s the question I posed to manager Buck Showalter earlier today, since he indicated after Wednesday night’s game in New York that he didn’t want to mess with a good thing and move Robert Andino from the ninth spot in the order.

Andino has raised his average to .342. He’s also risen from ninth to first.

So why Andino?

“As opposed to who?” Showalter replied, grinning.

Endy Chavez is batting .109. He also hits from the left side, and the Orioles are facing southpaw Jon Lester tonight.

“That’s for tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow brings,” Showalter said.

The Red Sox are starting right-hander Aaron Cook tomorrow, which could return Chavez to the lineup.

“(Andino) just presents our best option right now,” Showalter said. “Also, being able to put Ronny (Paulino) down there still gives us a threat in the nine hole that we like. And it splits up the speed, too, by doing it that way.”

I mentioned previously that Brian Roberts was simulating turning the double play and stealing second base during an early workout on the field. This was a rare occasion where Roberts performed all of his drills in one session, including hitting and taking ground balls. That’s another sign that he’s inching closer to playing in games.

Roberts only began sliding a few days ago. He didn’t dive into the bag.

Again, the Orioles aren’t going to announce a firm date at this time. It’s been discussed between Roberts and Showalter, but the preference is to stay flexible and to keep it private.

“Like I’ve said, Brian’s got this wired,” Showalter said. “He’s talking to the right people about what he feels and what he doesn’t feel. I let him initiate it. I’d like to have him tomorrow or today. It’s such an inexact thing and I’m leaning on him. He’s been the best barometer of this thing all along and I think even I lost sight of that.

“We already have talked about it. I just don’t broadcast it. It’s not something I draw a lot of focus to in my day-to-day conversation.”

Roberts has been watching the games from the dugout, and he served as the pseudo-hitting coach for Tuesday’s game in New York while Jim Presley was away from the team.

And in case you missed it,’s Steve Melewski reports that the Orioles released pitcher Luis Lebron, who never made a full recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2010.

Note: The Orioles have officially placed Nolan Reimold on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disk in his cervical spine and recalled catcher Luis Exposito from Triple-A Norfolk.

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