Baltimore Orioles’ utility man Wilson Betemit has officially been diagnosed with a Grade 2/3 tear of the PCL in his right knee. Betemit collapsed on the base paths in Monday’s game as he tried to go from first to second, and was later carted off the field. For the time being it appears that Betemit might not need surgery. The Orioles are planning on re-evaluating him in six to eight weeks, and that there’s a chance that he might be able to return to the team after that time at some point. During that six to eight week period Betemit will continue to receive treatment and rehab the knee in Sarasota. My personal opinion is that Ryan Flaherty will now break camp with the team given that Betemit will presumably be sent to the DL.
In more promising injury news, Nick Markakis is expected to return to right field in tonight’s game against New York in Sarasota. Markakis was the DH in yesterday’s 9-5 loss to Minnesota, going 1-for-5 in the game. However tonight will be the first time that Markakis will have been back in the field since March 1st, as he’s suffered from neck spasms since then. If there was ever a good time for him to come back, it’s now. Whereas much of this spring training has been about seeing what kind of depth in pitching and in the field the Orioles could manage to take north with them, spring training takes a turn away from that in the last 7-10 days. At that point it becomes about making sure that the regulars are firing on all cylinders moving into the regular season. One thing that we do know about Markakis is that he’s not the type of guy that needs a lot of reps to get into game shape, so that bodes well in his and the Orioles’ favor.
Tonight’s game will be shown live on MASN at 7 PM, after which MASN will be showing the DVD that they produced this past off season, BUCKle Up Birds: An Underdog Story. According to Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com, the program will also air at 6 PM on March 30th, and 12:30 PM on April 5th (in anticipation for the Orioles’ home opener that afternoon). Fans can still purchase their copy of the DVD at www.orioles.com/buckleup.