Orioles bring back Andino on minor league deal

The need for improved infield depth has led the Orioles back to Robert Andino.

Remember him?

The Orioles have confirmed the signings of Andino and Johnny Giavotella to minor league deals. The Giavotella signing was reported last week.

Both players will receive invitations to spring training.

Andino appeared in 360 games with the Orioles between 2009-2012, batting .239/.302/.326 with 46 doubles, 16 home runs and 80 RBIs. Most important to the club, he’s able to play second base, shortstop and third base, and also has experience in the outfield.

andino-deep-thought-sidebar.jpgAndino, 32, has made most of his starts at second base (205) and can fill in for Jonathan Schoop during the World Baseball Classic. Schoop will leave camp to play for the Netherlands. Giavotella was the Angels’ starting second baseman the past two opening days.

The Orioles acquired Andino from the Marlins on April 1, 2009 for Hayden Penn and traded him to the Mariners on Nov. 20, 2012 for outfielder Trayvon Robinson. He’s a career .233/.294/.318 hitter in 10 major league seasons.

Andino didn’t play in the majors in 2014-2015, returning last season for 13 games with the Marlins after signing as a free agent. He spent most of the season at Triple-A New Orleans.

The road back to the Orioles also included a 123-game stint with Somerset of the independent Atlantic League in 2015.

Andino will compete with Ryan Flaherty for a utility job, but he could end up as Triple-A Norfolk’s starting shortstop while Giavotella plays second base.

The Orioles had some interest in bringing back Paul Janish to play shortstop at Norfolk, but Andino’s signing could remove him from consideration.

Fans always will remember Andino for his walk-off single against closer Jonathan Papelbon at Camden Yards to end the 2011 season and the Red Sox’s playoff hopes. Nolan Reimold slid home safely and Andino was buried beneath a pile of jubilant teammates.

His return will be more low-key in Sarasota, but he remains a popular figure and will liven up camp.

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