While it’s not quite on the level of Nick Markakis’ thumb injury, the Orioles did get some bad news after last night’s loss to the Athletics.
According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Wilson Betemit is likely done for the season after experiencing renewed discomfort in his right wrist during batting practice last night.
Betemit missed two and a half weeks with a sore wrist before returning on September 1, so a similar injury would knock him out for the rest of the regular season. He should get a better idea on the timeline after seeing a hand specialist in Florida on Monday.
“It’s frustrating. Everything is going good for us, and this happens to me. We’ll see what happens. I am going to Sarasota, [Fla.], and we’ll see Monday [what] they tell me.”
Betemit, 30, is batting .261/.322/.422 with 12 home runs, 40 RBI and a .744 OPS in 102 games played this season. The switch-hitter has an .859 OPS against right-handed pitching.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.