Heading into the 2012 season the Orioles have one question about the infield. Can Brian Roberts play?
In a perfect world Roberts’ rehab will have worked out and he will have no affects of a concussion by opening day. However, as we’ve seen in the past few seasons, concussions have played a bigger role in determining health and stats then any other injury. Just look at Justin Morneau for example. He may never be the same player he was. A .300 hitter with 30 Homerun power and 100 RBI mentalities, Morneau may never get over his concussion symptoms again.
If Roberts is no-go on Opening Day the Orioles have two options to take his spot. Robert Andino and Ryan Flaherty.
Ryan Flaherty was acquired this past offseason via the rule 5 draft from the Chicago Cubs. Flaherty was a former 1st round supplemental by the Cubs in the 2008 draft. He can play 2nd, 3rd and shortstop.
Last year in double A and triple A, Flaherty accounted for 18 Homeruns with 88 RBI’s and hit .280. The Orioles really like Flaherty and so far this spring he has hit .267 with 2 RBI’s and a triple in 5 games. The O’s already cut Ryan Adams from the Major League team; giving Flaherty every opportunity he can to earn a spot on the roster. Flaherty seems to picture in more as a utility man, at least at the beginning of the season.
Andino, a former 2nd round pick, was acquired from the Florida Marlins in 2009 for the former O’s prospect Hayden Penn. In 2009 and 2010 Andino had a total of 251 at bats. In 2011 alone he totaled 457 at bats, filling in nice for Brian Roberts.
Last season Andino hit .263 with 5 Homeruns and 36 RBI’s. He accumulated 13 stolen bases and many flashy plays in the field. Its not uncommon for Andino to be seen on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” making web gems.
Most remember Andino for his last game heroics to knock the Boston Red Sox out of the playoffs. Andino singled in the winning run to give Baltimore the comeback win against Boston in the final game of the year. He made a strong case for him to be the starter if Brian Roberts is still sidelined.
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