Wedge says Andino adds infield versatility
One of the upgrades the Mariners made this offseason that didn’t get a lot of attention was the acquistion of utility infielder Robert Andino, a 28-year-old who started much of the past two seasons at second base for the Orioles.
Andino came up in pro ball as a shortstop in the Marlins organization and is capable of playing third base as well. He’ll replace Munenori Kawasaki, who brought a lively personality to the Mariners last year, but didn’t threaten anyone at the plate.
Kawasaki had just one extra-base hit — a double — in 104 at-bats while hitting .192.
Andino had 21 extra-base hits — including seven home runs — in 374 at-bats last year while hitting .211. He batted .263 a year earlier and is a capable offensive player as well as a solid defender.
Which is why Eric Wedge acknowledged Thursday that he’ll be able to utilize Andino in a far greater role than Kawasaki and Chone Figgins, last year’s backup infielders.
“No doubt about it,” Wedge said. “That was one of the reasons we felt we needed to go out and get a guy like that. I talked to him about that today. I said, ‘Listen, we’re going to let all this play out. I’m not exactly sure what your role is going to be.
“But I’ll tell you one thing, I’m very confident with you playing and starting in multiple positions. I feel good about you up at home plate. And that’s not just because of what I”ve seen here early on. Obviously we just got here. But it’s also watching him over a period of time on the other side of the field.”
Andino is an interesting guy who plays hard and has eight years in the big leagues with the Marlins and Orioles. I did a full story on him on Mariners.com today in which he talks about feeling the same vibe in his new clubhouse as he felt a year ago in Baltimore, when the Orioles went on to shock the baseball world by getting in the playoffs and advancing to the ALDS with a 93-69 record after being picked to finish last in the AL East by most experts.
As he told several of his new Mariners teammates, “Why not us?” You can read all of Andino’s thoughts on his new start in Seattle here.