Healthy Roberts creates infield questions

Healthy Roberts creates infield questions
February 20, 2013, 5:00 pm
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SARASOTA, Fla. – Most positions on the Orioles seem set. If Brian Roberts is healthy, there’s room for Alexi Casilla as his backup, and perhaps no other infielder.

Casilla can play shortstop and third base. Barring injury, J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado should be able to play nearly every day, but Casilla could fill in.

Wilson Betemit, who played a lot of third base last year, is back, but he’ll mostly be around as a designated hitter option.

If Roberts is unable to play regularly, Casilla would be the second baseman, and that opens up another spot. It could be for Ryan Flaherty or perhaps Yamaico Navarro.

Navarro was acquired from Pittsburgh last November for minor league pitcher Johndaniel Medina. He’s played in 71 major league games over the last three seasons with the Royals, Red Sox and the Pirates.

His first name is pronounced “Yo-Mike-oh,” and though Navarro has lots of competition from Flaherty, who can play a variety of positions and Niuman Romero, the 25-year-old native of the Dominican was happy to hear of his trade to Baltimore.

“I was excited to be on a new team. I’m ready to play, and I know a lot of people here,” Navarro said.

“I have a chance here. If I get going and play hard, you never know.”