Betemit exits with injury (updated)

It was a rare sight to see Buck Showalter leaving the dugout during Monday’s game, but it was a testament to the character of Wilson Betemit, who was carted off the field in the bottom of the fifth inning with a right knee injury that put a dark cloud over the Orioles’ 12-9 win.

“Wilson is one of the better young men in the game,” Showalter said of Betemit, who was diagnosed with a ligament sprain and will have an MRI Monday night to evaluate further.  “For him personally, I hope we get lucky. He’s a tough guy. For him to lay there, you know he was in some pain.”

Betemit, who had four RBIs prior to his last at-bat, walked and crumpled to the ground on his way to second base, writhing in pain and doubled up halfway down the basepath on Manny Machado’s fly ball. After being examined by the team’s athletic trainers he was carted off the field and later helped into the locker room with a protective brace already on his knee.

“I’ve got a heavy heart with Wilson, boy. That’s tough,” Showalter said. “It really sucked the energy out of the dugout. I didn’t even feel like coming back out on the field. I was hoping it was his hamstring. I’m hoping if it’s the PCL, you’ve got a different dynamic, if it’s not the ACL [anterior cruciate ligament]. You can rehab and there’s on surgery. I’m hoping for even better than that. I don’t think I’m going to get it, but I’m hoping it’s the PCL.”

Betemit hasn’t had an previous injury history on his right knee and he worked hard this offseason–forgoing winter ball—to keep his body in good shape and arrive this spring strong and ready to go.

“The whole time [after the injury] I was there we were talking about it,” said reliever Pedro Strop, a close friend of Betemit’s who took the mound in the seventh. “I was just trying to make my pitches and everything. But it stole everybody’s attention, everybody was talking about it. I mean, hopefully everything is all right. It’s tough to see one of your teammates [get hurt] and even more when you know how hard he worked for the 2013 season.”

Betemit entered the game hitting .194 and previously had a three-run homer and a sacrifice fly to give him eight spring RBIs.  If he was to go on the disabled list, it would likely solidify a spot for Ryan Flaherty — who was already competing for a bench spot – to give the Orioles another left-handed hitter option. That, in turn, would also open a spot potentially for another outfield/first baseman to make the club as a reserve. Possible candidates still in camp include Steve Pearce, Conor Jackson, Lew Ford and Chris Dickerson.

“We will talk about that if we lose him,” Showalter said. “I’m going to think positive thoughts. Obviously it doesn’t look good right now, but I’m concerned about Wilson the human being as opposed to what he does for our club. That’s where everybody is, see where he is physically. What he does for our club kind of pales in comparison. Don’t want to lose the person as much as the player.”

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