I just got off the phone with newest Oriole Wilson Betemit, who's back home in the Dominican Republic after signing a two-year deal worth $3.25 million that includes a $3.2 million vesting option for 2014.
Betemit explained why he chose the Orioles. While the money offered is an obvious reason, he added, "My agent told me I'd get an opportunity to play over there. I just want to go out there and play. It's an opportunity to play and try to help the team win and play whatever position they need."
Betemit has appeared at every defensive spot except center field and catcher. The Orioles will use him as a designated hitter, especially against right-handers, and move him around the infield. He's better suited for the corners, with most of his starts coming at third base.
"For me, it's not a problem," he said. "That's what I do. I play wherever - infield, outfield, some DH. If they use me at DH, it's not a problem. DH, first base, I just want the opportunity to play and help the team. I'll be comfortable wherever they put me."
Betemit wasn't discouraged by the Orioles' 14 straight losing seasons and the challenges of breaking that streak while competing in the American League East.
"I know there are a lot of tough teams in that division," he said, "but you've got to go out and play and see what happens."
This will be Betemit's seventh team, and his fifth since the start of the 2008 season.
"I've played with a lot of different teams the last couple of years, but that's how the game goes sometimes," he said. "Right now, I'm a Baltimore Oriole and I'm going out there and getting an opportunity, and I'll do my best to help the team and win games and play wherever I'm needed."
He's still waiting for his visa to arrive, at which point he plans on reporting early to spring training.
"Maybe with the pitchers and catchers," he said.
And speaking of spring training, the Orioles sent out the following release earlier today:
Individual tickets for all 16 of the Orioles' spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium will go on sale this Saturday, January 28 at 10:00 a.m. It is recommended that fans purchase tickets online, by phone or at select area Wal-Mart locations.
Last season, the Orioles set an all-time Sarasota attendance record at Ed Smith Stadium with 115,506 fans over 16 games, including 10 sellouts.
Fans interested in season tickets, five game flex-plans or group tickets, or those wishing to receive additional spring training ticket information may call the Orioles spring training office at 941-893-6300.
Spring training tickets for Orioles home games at Ed Smith Stadium may be purchased in the following ways:
THROUGH THE INTERNET: Tickets can be purchased at the Orioles' official website, www.orioles.com/spring.
BY PHONE: Individual game tickets can be purchased by phone by calling 800-745-3000. Season, group tickets, suites and other specialty areas are available by calling 941-893-6300.
AT WAL-MART: Through the Orioles' agreement with TicketMaster, individual game tickets can be purchased at select Sarasota-area Wal-Mart stores.
BY FAX OR MAIL: Individual game ticket orders can be faxed or mailed to the Orioles Box Office in Sarasota. The fax number is 941-893-6377. The mailing address is 2700 12th Street, Sarasota, 34237. To request a ticket order form, call the Orioles at 941-893-6300.
AT THE PARK: Individual game tickets can be purchased in person at Ed Smith Stadium in the Left Field Ticket Office, located at 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue. The box office will be open on January 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will then be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from January 30 until February 10. From February 13 - April 2 the box office will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is available in the East Lot, located on 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue.
TRAVEL PACKAGE: The Orioles are offering the official Spring Training Travel Package that includes hotel accommodations, rental car, game tickets, optional airfare through Southwest Airlines and other amenities. For more information or to order travel packages, fans should visit www.orioles.com/springtravel or call 1-800-892-7687.
The Orioles will play their first of 16 home spring training games in 2012 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Monday, March 5 at 7:05 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Pirates. 2012 marks the third consecutive spring training for the Orioles in Sarasota, and the second in the renovated ballpark.
NOTE: The Orioles signed left-handed hitting outfielder Cory Aldridge to a minor league contract, according to a tweet from @MyKBO.
Aldridge, 32, played for the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization last year. He appeared in eight games with the Braves in 2001 and five with the Angels in 2010, when he tripled for his only major league hit and RBI in 18 at-bats.
The Braves selected Aldridge in the fourth round of the 1997 First-Year Player Draft.