Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Orioles suffer DH blow on eve of season

Just six days to go before the start of the 2013 MLB season and Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter has a major problem on his hands.

Midway through Monday’s game with the Boston Red Sox, Orioles designated hitter Wilson Betemit crashed to the floor as he ran from first to second base.

The 31-year-old looked in serious pain as medical staff went on to the field and five minutes later he was being driven off, clutching his right knee.

Unfortunately for Orioles fans in the betting world, the news isn’t good. Betemit went for an MRI scan immediately after the incident and was diagnosed with a Grade Two-to-Three tear of the posterior cruciate ligament.

“Obviously it doesn't look good right now,” said Showalter after the game. “I’m concerned about Wilson the human being as opposed to what he does for our club.”

 Indeed, the injury is a severe blow for Betemit, who many expected to play a big part in Baltimore’s campaign to make the postseason again this year. The infielder played 102 games for the Orioles last season, scoring 41 runs from 341 at-bats.

Although not in the best form of his life this spring, Betemit had started to find his swing and made a three-run homer on Monday before leaving the game.

 Showalter now has to think fast about who to replace Betemit with and come Opening Day will probably go with Ryan Flaherty, the utility infielder whose left-hand bat means he is a like-for-like swap for Betemit.

Yet fans are right to be unconvinced with this replacement, for although Flaherty can do a job for the team he doesn’t have the flair and inspiration that Betemit reserves for those big hits.

The Orioles are in for a long season and hopefully come mid-summer Betemit is back on the plate, although given this injury there is no knowing when we’ll see him return.

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