BALTIMORE -- Orioles second baseman Robert Andino had a pair of special guests in attendance for Friday's season opener, with high school baseball coach Fred Burnside and Laura Harlow, who also worked at Southridge (Fla.) High, both making the trip from the Miami area to Baltimore.
"We went out to dinner yesterday and all that," said Andino, who credits both Burnside and Harlow with help keeping him on the right track. "[Harlow] was like my second mom. She calls me her stepson.
"For them to be at not just any Opening Day, but an Opening Day that I started, for them to see it, I thought it was pretty cool. I thought they deserved it."
The 27-year-old Andino -- who had a career year in 2011 in Brian Roberts' absence -- received one of the loudest cheers during the Orioles' pregame introductions on the orange carpet, a fact unbeknownst to him.
"I didn't hear anything to be honest with you," said Andino, who was introduced as an Opening Day starter for the first time in his career. "I was just worried about tripping; I was concentrating on my steps so I wouldn't trip. I think [manager Buck Showalter] had the loudest one."
While Showalter's cheers were deafening, one of the most noticeable introductions was reliever Kevin Gregg, who was heavily booed by the sellout crowd at his home park.
"You never like to see anybody have that, but Kevin is an experienced guy," Showalter said of Gregg, who converted 22 of 29 saves last year, and has been replaced in the closer role by Jim Johnson. "If it was a young guy, you'd feel a little more strongly about it. Our fans, like a lot of places, are waiting to embrace you and to be real positive. And it is up to us to do the things that make them want to embrace us. We control that. And Kevin knows that."
Wada set to throw in extended spring game
BALTIMORE -- Orioles pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada (left elbow discomfort) will throw in an extended spring game on Monday, the first of three scheduled outings that could see the lefty return on or before April 24, according to manager Buck Showalter.
Wada will get up to 90 pitches in his second extended spring outing on Friday at Port Charlotte and -- assuming all goes well -- the plan is to send him out on a rehab assignment to throw with one of the team's affiliates on the 19th.
"He had between 13 and 15 innings, depending on how you look at it with the sim games coming out of camp, so this should get him back on equal ground with where some of the other guys have been stretched out," Showalter said. "He threw 35 to 40 pitches today in a side work. I talked to [pitching rehab coordinator] Chris Correnti, who is kind of handling it down there along with [director of pitching development] Rick Peterson. He said things went real well. Wada said it is probably the best he felt."
Wada, who was slowed in camp with an elbow issue he deals with every spring, is eligible to be activated on Thursday, but that won't happen given his current schedule. Showalter said the preference is to get Wada to 90-plus pitches twice, which should put him in his "comfort zone," and enable the team to use him as either a starter or reliever.
Asked how he envisioned using Wada, Showalter was noncommittal.
"We'll see," he said. "He's going to have the ability to do both by then. So, that's good for us."
That will depend on how well Wada is throwing, and on what the team's current starters are doing. The Orioles' Opening Day rotation was Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Jason Hammel and Brian Matusz.
"I really like what is going on with him down there," Showalter said of Wada, who was signed to a two-year deal out of Japan this offseason. "He looks like he is making good progress."
O's put both catchers in lineup on Saturday
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles rolled out an unusual lineup on Saturday night, with manager Buck Showalter employing both catchers by having Ronny Paulino start at designated hitter.
"We got another one, but it's a secret," Showalter said of the team's emergency catcher. "Maybe to him, too. No, I want to get everybody in the lineup. The first two, three, four days, I don't want them to lose that tempo and feel they had coming out of spring. We will get [Endy] Chavez in there either tomorrow or the next day, try to work Ryan [Flaherty] in there also. I just think it's important that everybody gets their feet wet in the environment. But Ronny handles left-handed pitching pretty well. We are going to need everything we can throw at [Twins starter Francisco] Liriano.
In addition to Paulino, Nick Johnson also made his Orioles debut, batting seventh and playing first base. Johnson and Paulino were both non-roster invitees this spring, with the oft-injured Johnson earning one of the final bench spots after putting together a healthy and productive camp. Paulino is a career .330 hitter against left-handed pitching, versus .246 against righties, and entered Saturday's game 1-for-3 off of Liriano for his career.
"Nick Johnson is actually a lot better against left-handed pitching than right-handed," Showalter said. "One challenge that Liriano had a little bit last year was command. We are hoping Nick brings that into play some."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.