Andino, Flaherty provide roster flexibility

Andino, Flaherty provide roster flexibility

Andino, Flaherty provide roster flexibility
BALTIMORE -- Although they aren't always on the field, Robert Andino and Ryan Flaherty have played critical roles in making the Orioles' current roster construction possible.

Each has shown the ability to play both infield and outfield -- Flaherty has played every position except catcher this season -- giving manager Buck Showalter the flexibility necessary to operate with a short bench, as the team has been carrying 13 pitchers and 12 position players since Wednesday.

"That's one of the reasons why we can do it," Showalter said. "You're trying to have one of those two guys on the bench to have that maneuverability."

Andino was that bench presence Saturday, as Flaherty started at third and hit ninth.

Since Brian Roberts returned to the lineup on June 12, Andino has found himself in a bench role more frequently.

Andino opened the season as the team's everyday second baseman, appearing in 58 of the first 60 games.

Although he's played in only 10 of the 16 games since Roberts re-entered the fold, Showalter said Andino has become no less valuable.

"He's a regular irregular, and he gives me a real luxury," Showalter said. "Robert is pretty easy to read, and he's engaged in the Orioles winning, and he knows he's a big part of it."

Andino said the adjustment has been an easy one, as he held a utility role before Roberts was injured and always knew he'd slide back into that position when Roberts came back.

"That was my role from the beginning," Andino said. "Whatever I've got to do to help the team win, that's something I'm all for."

On Wednesday, that meant playing center field for only the third time in his career, a role he said he prepared for by taking fly balls in batting practice.

Being prepared has become a mantra for Andino. Not just for every position in the field, but for the inconsistent at-bats that come with no longer having an everyday job.

"You've got to have your mind prepared for it," Andino said. "You have different routines, and you've always got to be prepared at all times.