Spring Training news & notes 3/26 (w/ Betemit update)

*Wilson Betemit just held court with reporters, sporting a large brace on his right knee, and he will be sidelined at least  6-8 weeks and then reevaluated from there.

Betemit, who was diagnosed with a Grade 2/3 PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) tear, will remain in Sarasota and rest for a few weeks before starting a rehab program. He was told following Monday night’s MRI that the injury won’t require surgery and it’s certainly better news than any injury to his ACL, which is what the team was fearful of as Betemit was carted off the field in the fifth inning.

“Oh yeah, it felt like my legs, my bones, felt like I had broke everything,” said Betemit, slated to be the team’s left-handed hitting designated hitter.  “And then yesterday after they took me to the MRI they told me it was my ligament in the back, everything is connected, but it’s stretched too much. That’s why I have to wear this [brace] so I can connect them back.”

Betemit is not sure how exactly he suffered the injury, which came while he was running back from second base, and said maybe his cleat caught something. But it was a frightening sight as his knee buckled and he went down to the ground, writhing in pain and putting a damper on the Orioles’ 12-9 win.

“It’s disappointing,” said Betemit, who opted to not play in winter ball to be ready for spring. “I come in this year ready. I know I wasn’t having a good Spring Training, but I started to feel good the last couple of days. It’s tough for me. It was tough for me last year, I had my wrist [injury] and then at the end of the year I had my ribs. And then this year I got a ligament. It’s tough for me this year.”

The PCL is located in the back of the knee and, similar to the anterior cruciate ligament [ACL}, it connects the femur to the tibia. There are different grades to classify the type of injury and typically Grades 1 and 2 don’t require surgery, while Grade 3 does.

“No, they didn’t tell me about surgery,” Betemit said. “They just told me to do some rehab, do some ice and some treatment over there and see what happens in six to eight weeks.

They said my ACL, in the front, they told me everything is good in there. It’s the back, the PCL.”

*Betemit will obviously start the season on the disabled list and that likely solidifies 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 potentially opens a spot for another outfielder/first baseman to make the club as a reserve. Possible candidates in camp include Steve Pearce and Conor Jackson, assuming the Orioles don’t go with a three-man bench to start the season.

*Another potential issue with the Opening Day roster is that Baltimore needs a fifth starter just once in the first few weeks of the season –the second time is April 21– and they could potentially fill that with a spot starter, keeping just four pitchers in the rotation and an extra arm in the bullpen. That avenue could bode well for keeping Rule-5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland, who made his first spring start on Monday.

Chris Tillman, who threw in a Minor League game earlier this week, is a little behind the other starters given that he was slowed with an abdominal issue and putting him on the DL to start the season is an option being discussed internally as well.

*Miguel Gonzalez threw six innings in a Minor League game yesterday and everything went well there.

*The Orioles acquired minor league right–handed pitcher Jairo Asencio, 28, from the Brewers last night in exchange for a player to be named later. Asencio is expected to report to Sarasota today.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Nate McLouth LF
Nolan Reimold RF
Manny Machado 3B

Kevin Gausman RHP
TWINS LINEUP
Aaron Hicks CF
Brian Dozier 2B
Josh Willingham LF
Justin Morneau DH
Ryan Doumit C
Miguel Sano 3B
Chris Parmelee 1B
Wilkin Ramirez RF
Pedro Florimon, Jr. SS

Liam Hendriks RHP

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