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12/10/08 8:19 PM EST

Bucs continuing talks regarding Andino

With minor trade possible soon, Pirates have interest in shortstop

LAS VEGAS -- In his daily afternoon session with the media Wednesday, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington acknowledged that a minor trade could be consummated before the end of the Winter Meetings.

"Yeah, I think there is a chance something small could happen while we're here," Huntington said. "I don't think it's going to be headline grabbing. But I do think there's a chance there could be something small."

While that generalization could refer to any sort of small deal, there are still indications that the Pirates are continuing conversations with the Marlins about acquiring infielder Robert Andino.

A league source has confirmed that a deal between the two clubs could still be completed. Pirates shortstop Brian Bixler is a name that has surfaced in those talks. Despite reports of the Marlins' interest in Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino, according to a National League source, he does not seem to currently be a part of the ongoing discussions.

On the surface, the trade would seem to be swapping two players of similar skill level and value. However, Andino is out of options and is currently blocked from likely making Florida's Major League club out of Spring Training. With Pittsburgh, Andino could make the team as a backup middle infielder or even as a starter, should the Pirates trade shortstop Jack Wilson.

Bixler, who hit .157 in 108 games last season, has looked overmatched in the Majors in much of his time with the Bucs. As a result, Pirates management is not yet convinced that Bixler would be ready to take over on an everyday basis if the need to do so is there.

A team official has confirmed that the Pirates are continuing to explore all shortstop options in case the Pirates are able to deal Wilson.

Andino has hit .201 with 12 RBIs and eight doubles in 144 Major League at-bats. The 24-year-old Andino does have some speed and is decent defensively.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.