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November 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm ET
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I Already Miss Robert Andino

Never has the departure of a .211 hitter been more disappointing. The Orioles today traded Robert Andino to Seattle for outfielder Trayvon Robinson.

Robinson was drafted by the Dodgers at age 17. He’s 25 now and has played parts of the last two seasons for the M’s. His career has been described as “promising.”

I hope so, because it’s hard to say goodbye to Andino. All Andino did for the Orioles was whatever anyone asked him to do. When the Brian Roberts litany of serious injuries began, Andino stepped in and held down the position. He’s best-remembered for the walk-off hit he got off Jonathan Papelbon to bury the Red Sox on the last day of the 2011 season. Andino hit an inside-the-park homer in that series as well, touching ‘em all as Jacoby Ellsbury face-planted into Camden Yards’ center field wall.

Andino won’t win any Gold Gloves and fell into a hitting slump so deep last season that the O’s acquired Omar Quintanilla to at least pretend he could hit for a while. Iffy defense and cold streaks notwithstanding, I liked the guy. He played hard and made the team notice him.

But when the O’s plucked Alexi Casilla off the waiver wire this month, the writing was on the wall for the 28-year-old Andino. Roberts will try to come back from hip surgery in 2013 and the team likes last year’s Rule V guy Ryan Flaherty a lot. Plus somehow Quintanilla’s still in the picture. As Joe Riggins, the manager in Bull Durham told Crash Davis, “The organization wants to make a change.”

Buck Showalter brought out the best in Andino, who suddenly stopped pouting and seemed to mature into not just a confident big-league ballplayer, but a badass and a terrific teammate. He wore the black and orange proudly. Good luck, Robert. I’ll miss you.

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