SARASOTA, Fla. -- Sporting crutches and a large brace on his right knee, Wilson Betemit held court with reporters Tuesday morning and discussed an injury that will sideline him at least 6-8 weeks before he's re-evaluated.
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 (anterior cruciate ligament), which is what the team was fearful of as Betemit was carted off the field in the fifth inning Monday's game against the Red Sox.
"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 exactly what caused 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 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. Candidates in camp include Steve Pearce and Conor Jackson, assuming the Orioles don't go with a three-man bench to start the season.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.