As I slipped around scraping ice off my car this morning, I thought to myself “there’s going to be baseball played in less than week.” It feels like such a long time coming.
This spring has been entirely too long. Not the actual season — that feels like it hasn’t even begun, but rather Spring Training.
The Orioles lost Wilson Betemit with a grade 2/3 tear in his PCL on Monday. I didn’t know what that meant until after I looked it up, but watching the video of the injury I can tell you that it didn’t look pretty. Legs aren’t supposed to bend that way.
According to the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina, grade two is an isolated complete tear, three is an isolated tear with associated injuries.
Right now, Betemit is hoping to avoid season ending surgery. MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports that he’ll be reevaluated in six to eight weeks and will remain in Sarasota to receive treatment.
Despite the bad news for Betemit, the Orioles have done a good job of staying healthy this spring. Nick Markakis returns to the lineup as a DH today after sitting out since March 1 with a herniated disc in his neck. The fact that he’s playing with the big league club is a good indication that the O’s feel he’ll be ready for Opening Day.
Injuries have piled up this spring. Just look at the Yankees, who have gotten so desperate that they’re willing to pay Vernon Wells a reported $13 million over two years. They’ll be without Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to start the season. The Dodgers will be without Hanley Ramirez. The Red Sox without David Ortiz. The Padres without Chase Headley.
At the same time, Betemit’s injury shouldn’t be overlooked. He leaves behind a large hole in the Orioles lineup. Every piece of Buck Showalter‘s puzzle contributes in a unique way and Betemit was the piece that crushed right handed pitching. Last season he hit .302/.357/.502 with 11 of his 12 home runs and 30 of his 40 RBI from the left side of the plate.
The Birds will certainly miss that.
Assuming nothing crazy happens the rest of the week, the Orioles should be happy with their current health given the condition of the rest of the league. They’ll break camp with a strong roster and hope to take advantage of some potential early season struggles of those pesky Yankees.